Russian Cultural Seasons
19 November 2016
The Russian Cultural Seasons in South Africa opened with a concert by the world-famous Ossipov Academic Folk Orchestra in Johannesburg on 13th November 2016. They also perfrmed in Cape Town and Pretoria.
The concerts were a huge success and left the audiences spellbound. Welcoming guests to the opening Ambassador Petrakov emphasized that economic & political tracks of Russia-South Africa cooperation are vital, but cultural dimension is truly fundamental.
Photo: Ambassador Petrakov is pictured with Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Director-General of the South African Department of Arts and Culture.
This is just the start of the Seasons, more great events and performances are coming to South Africa, as well as South African musicians and artists to Russia under the South African Cultural Seasons in Russia.
The history of The Ossipov Balalaika Orchestra is full of triumphs, constant searches for perfection and unexpected turns of fate. The Orchestra was founded in 1919 by two prominent musicians: balalaika player Boris Troyanovsky and domrist Pyotr Alexeyev. The first concert of this orchestra became the birthday of the First Moscow Great-Russian Orchestra of Folk Instruments. Very soon the Orchestra started touring the USSR performing in virtually every region of the enormous country – from Sakhalin to Carpaths and from White Sea to Caucasus.
During those years the official name was changed twice – in 1928 to The All-Russian Radio Committee Folk Instruments Orchestra and in 1936 to The State Folk Instruments Orchestra of USSR.
When the prominent Soviet musician Nikolai Ossipov was appointed Chief Conductor and Music Director in 1940 it became a new page in the history of the Orchestra. After his death Dmitry Ossipov took over. He made a lot of changes in the concert practice of the Orchestra: new instruments such as gusli and bayan became a part of ensemble; duo and unison of balalaikas became a common practice, new music was written specially for the Orchestra by N.Boudashkin, A.Novikov, A.Kholminov and other composers. Nikolai Ossipov introduced to the audience the completely new orchestra: with unlimited performing possibilities and ability to play any kind of music, from simple arrangement of folk songs to complicated symphony.
During World War II, in June 1941 the Orchestra was disbanded. Almost all musicians went to the front. In September 1942 Soviet Government made a decision to revive the Orchestra. Nikolai Ossipov together with Manager Boris Romanov found many musicians and brought them back to Moscow. The Orchestra was re-established and got new official name: The State Russian Folk Orchestra. Many concerts were played during the war at different battle-lines. The last “war concert” was played in Kremlin and was dedicated to the Great Victory.
In 1946 the Orchestra was named after Nikolai Ossipov. During following years the OBO was led by Dmitri Ossipov, Viktor Smirnov, Vitaly Gnoutov, Viktor Doubrovsky and Nikolai Kalinin. Many prominent conductors performed with the OBO: Nikolai Golovanov, Nikolai Anossov, Alexander Gauk, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Veronica Doudarova, Vladimir Fedoseyev and many others.
In 1969 The OBO received a new honorable title “Academic Orchestra”. In June 1996 the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation has given the new official name to the Orchestra: “The Ossipov National Academic Folk Instruments Orchestra of Russia”.
Viktor Dubrovsky opened a new page in the history of the Orchestra. Contemporaries often called him “a Russian genius”. Under his baton the performing mastery of the Orchestra reached an unprecedented quality. For the first time the OBO performed arrangement of Russian, European and Soviet
classical masterpieces including the works of Rossini, Mendelssohn, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Sviridov and Stchedrin.
Years of cooperation with Nikolai Kalinin became for the Ossipov orchestra the years of inspiration and, at the same time, hard and profound work. Maestro Kalinin determined three mail principles of Orchestra’s activities: the highest professionalism, original and spectacular repertoire and educational work.
Since 2005 the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of The Ossipov Balalaika Orchestra is Maestro Vladimir Ponkin.
Since 2009 the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of The Ossipov Balalaika Orchestra is Maestro Vladimir Andropov, one of the most talented and prominent musicians of Russia. With him the Orchestra continues to preserve and develop the best traditions of Russian folk music.