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Entering 2016 -- a year that marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of Chamber Orchestra Kremlin -- the orchestra is changing its name to RUSSIAN STRING ORCHESTRA. Please welcome RSO – and rest assured that all the qualities that made the orchestra popular with audiences, critics, CD collectors, radio stations and YouTube (btw, over 2.7 million views to date!), will shine as always, if not more so.
This change involves a transition period, and both original and new names will appear together for a while. The old website and e-mail addresses are also valid.
And here are the reasons for this change.
In 1991 the Berlin Wall was already down and a long-awaited change was in the air all over Eastern Europe, including Russia. Then, in August 1991, came the infamous Russian putsch, the sound defeat of which resulted in incredible euphoria. It was in this spirit, and less than a week after the failed putsch, that I came to Moscow and announced auditions for a new orchestra. Everything unfolded at meteoric speed, and on September 19th the new orchestra had its first rehearsal. Now we needed a name, but there was a catch. With the newly-found freedom of traveling abroad, brought on by Gorbachev's “Perestroyka”, slews of orchestras were created in Russia -- many on paper only -- taking imposing names with “Russia” or “Moscow” in them, often similarly sounding like one of Russia’s well-established orchestras, thereby misleading presenters and public in the West. (That practice, sadly, continues. You may have heard stories of St. Petersburg “Tchaikovsky” Symphony Orchestra , of which no one in St. Petersburg knows anything. Or, the Dublin Philharmonic, fully staffed by Bulgarian musicians.)
I wanted a name which would clearly identify us as a Russian orchestra, yet without the risk of being confused with someone else, and “Chamber Orchestra Kremlin” filled the bill perfectly.
Kremlin (“fort” in Russian) is one of the most recognizable symbols of Russia, uniting history, culture and statesmanship, as it is often (not always) the seat of a government. The Moscow Kremlin, by the way, being over 500 years old, is not even the oldest of the many Kremlins in Russia!
Yes, the name “Chamber Orchestra Kremlin” did fit the bill, but then a problem began showing up in our tours abroad. The order of the words would often be changed to “Kremlin Chamber Orchestra”. Yes, perhaps it rolls off the tongue more smoothly, but the meaning is completely different. For years we tried to win the battle, but to no avail. Our 25th anniversary is a good opportunity to resolve the issue, and this is what we are doing.
I believe that our new name, Russian String Orchestra, is yet a better fit. We well recognize that carrying this name is a tall order, and we are ready to prove our right to it with every concert.
Thank you. I look forward to presenting Russian String Orchestra to you and your audience.
Misha Rachlevsky, RSO Music Director