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Alexandrov Ensemble

10 facts about the largest Russian art group – the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army named after Alexander Alexandrov.

1. The Alexandrov Ensemble is a military unit where professional musicians serve. Their routine includes not only rehearsals – they take an oath, undergo a drill, they know how to handle weapons. In the ensemble serve and conscripts, and contractors, there are civil artists.

2. The team was created in 1928 – then it was named the Ensemble of the Red Army Song of the Central House of the Red Army named after Frunze. Since that time, the Alexandrov Ensemble has raised with its performances the fighting spirit of the soldiers. Thus, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, the musicians gave more than 1,500 concerts. In the peaceful years, the ensemble performed in hot spots – in past years these were Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Transnistria, and today – Syria.

The parade on Red Square in Moscow on November 7, 1941. Painting by Konstantin Yuon 1949
“Holy War” performed by the choir, orchestra and soloists of the Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Alexander Alexandrov Army
3. The largest military art group in Russia began with 12 people: it included 8 singers, 2 dancers, an accordionist and a reader. Over time, formed a choir, orchestra and dance group. The ensemble is recognized as one of the best in the world – it combines the sound of a chapel with folk emotionality; in an orchestra, folk instruments coexist with wind instruments.

4. The creator of one of the symbols of the Soviet army – Alexander Alexandrov. Professor of the Moscow Conservatory, People’s Artist of the USSR, Major General, Doctor of Art History, began his musical career as a singer in the Kazan Cathedral, was regent in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. To lead the army team Alexandrov convinced one of the first marshals of the Soviet Union, Clement Voroshilov.

5. For almost 90 years of the collective’s existence, the whole Aleksandrovs military-musical dynasty has developed. Alexander Vasilyevich – the founder of the group, the author of music for the anthem of the Soviet Union and Russia, led the ensemble for 18 years. His son Boris was artistic director for 41 years. Two other sons – Alexander and Vladimir – conducted and led the orchestra.

6. Over the years of its existence, the Alexandrov Ensemble gave concerts: at the Parliament of Canada, at the Vatican in honor of the birthday of Pope John Paul II, at NATO Headquarters, and also recorded the anthem of Great Britain, performed songs about friendship on the lawn with Bush Sr. White House.

“Pianissimo and fortissimo choir, when administered by Alexandrov, are more fantastic and more convincing than any choral specialist in the world. His crescendo and diminuendo are more elaborately thought out than those of other conductors I have heard since the days of Toscanini. ”
The correspondent of The Gazette, Montreal
7. The ensemble has a tradition: at a concert anywhere in the world to sing in the language of the hosts. In total, the Alexandrov Ensemble has been on tour in more than 70 countries with a repertoire of two thousand songs. In 1937, the team was awarded the Grand Prix of the World Exhibition in Paris.

“Mr. Colonel Alexandrov! Despite the enormous burden you are carrying in Paris, you did not refuse to participate in the gala concert in favor of starving children, organized by UNESCO. The participation of the choir of the Soviet army contributed to the magnificent success of the concert, decorated it, gave it the necessary content and international character. ”
From the UNESCO letter of thanks

8. At various times, the USSR People’s Ensemble served as USSR people’s folk artists: the Bolshoi Theater soloist Artur Eisen, the most famous singer of the song “Kalinka” Yevgeny Belyaev, Alexey Sergeev, who performed in 1942 at the forefront “Holy War”. And dozens of names that adorn the posters of the country’s leading theaters.

9. On tour in Paris in 1961, the already famous ensemble performed with the beginning 15-year-old singer Mireille Mathieu. The Paris newspapers then wrote that thanks to the choir of the Red Army a new French star was born.

Oath of the partisans. Painting Marat Samsonov. 1978
“In the valleys and in the hills …” performed by the choir, orchestra and soloists of the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Alexander Alexandrov Army.
10. One of the traditions of the Alexandrov Ensemble is to give New Year’s concerts in the remote garrisons of the country and hot spots. In each touring city, artists visit veterans and give small improvised concerts right at home for those who cannot come to the concert. 2016, the musicians met with families of military personnel in Nalchik and in Vladikavkaz. On December 25, 2016, during the crash of the Tu-154 aircraft, 68 musicians of the ensemble died, who were heading for Syria to perform before the Russian military with a New Year program.

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