The Grand Choir “Masters of Choral Singing”
Artistic Director — Professor Lev Kontorovich
“The Grand Choir is one of the best choirs in our country. Each encounter with these excellent musicians brings me great joy” – Dmitry Shostakovich, composer.
“The Choir under the direction of Lev Kontorovich is amazing, It shows great flexibility, mastership and charm” – Dmitri Hvorostovsky, singer.
“I find the Choir fantastic. The musicians sing in German so perfectly that sometimes I forget I hear the Russian choir singing.” – Helmuth Rilling, conductor.
«To “Masters of Choral Singing”: You are real Masters and it is pleasure to work with a chorus of such quality!» — Christoph Eschenbach, conductor.
Grand choir was created in 1928, its founder and the first Artistic Director was a prominent master of choral arts Alexander Sveshnikov. At various times the Choir was lead by such great musicians as Nikolai Golovanov, Ivan Kuvykin, Klavdy Ptitsa, and Liudmila Ermakova.
In 2005 Prof. Lev Kontorovich was invited to take up the post of Artistic Director of the Grand Choir which got by the time its new name – “Masters of Choral Singing”. Under Prof. Kontorovich’s leadership, the renewed composition of the choir successfully keeps the traditions established by its predecessors. The Choir’s name «Masters of Choral Singing» determines the professionalism, high level of performance, exceptional efficiency and versatility of the team, where each artist can perform both as a member of the choir and as a soloist.
For 90 years, the choir performed more than 15,000 works of various epochs and genres: operas, oratorios, cantatas by Russian and European composers, a’cappella piceces, folk songs and Russian and European sacred music. Many of them became the «golden fund» of the national sound recording, gained recognition abroad (Grand Prix competition of recordings in Paris, the «Gold Medal» in Valencia). The Grand Choir was the first performer of works by Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitriy Shostakovich, Rodion Shchedrin, Aram Khachaturian, Otar Taktakishvili, Vladislav Agafonnikov, Yury Evgrafov and other prominent Russian composers.
With the Grand Choir at various times worked such outstanding conductors, singers and musicians as Evgeny Svetlanov, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Dmitry Kitaenko, Vladimir Fedoseev, Helmuth Rilling, Michel Plasson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Alberto Zedda, Ennio Morricone, Vladimir Jurowski, Mikhail Pletnev, Christoph Eschenbach, Elena Obraztsova, Irina Arkhipova, Nikolai Gedda, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Aanna Netrebko, Zurab Sotkilava, Evgeny Nesterenko, Roberto Alanya, Angela Gheorghiu, Vasily Ladyuk and many others.
In creative cooperation with Maestro Helmuth Rilling (Germany) and his orchestra and soloists, the Grand Choir successfully performed in Moscow great works by J.S. Bach: “The Great Mass in B minor”, “Christmas Oratorio”, “St. John Passion”, “St. Matthew Passion”, “Magnificat”.
In the framework of Music Festival in Colmar (France) the Choir performed “The Damnation of Faust” by H. Berlioz under the baton of legendary Michel Plasson (2017).
The “Masters of Choral Singing” take part in Valery Gergiev’s Moscow Easter Festival; Moscow Festival of Classical Music “Christmas Fest” (Artistic Directors Vladimir Spivakov and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev)); Moscow Lenten Choral Festival (Artistic Directors Aleksander Sokolov and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev)); International Music Festival in Colmar; The Ravello Festival 2017 (Italy); Mstislav Rostropoivch Moscow International Music Festival; Music Festival “Opera Live”; Denis Matsuev’s “Crescendo” Music Festival and others.
The Grand Choir has enthusiastic welcome at the best stages in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Israel, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Republica de Costa Rica, Qatar, Indonesia and other countries. “Masters of Choral Singing” often tour in Russian regions including Urals, Siberia and the Far East.
The Grand Choir “Masters of Choral Singing” is full of creative plans and looks forward to meeting its audience.