Alexandrov Ensemble

The history

Twice Red Banner, Order of the Red Star Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army named after A.V. Alexandrov is the largest military musical band of Russia, the central cultural institution of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

October 12, 1928 is considered its birthday. On that day, the first concert performance took place in the Central House of the Red Army. Twelve participants were engaged in it: male vocal octet, two dancers, accordionist and reciter. Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, an outstanding choirmaster and conductor, composer, professor of the Moscow Conservatory was one of the organizers and first musical director of the Ensemble.
The aim of 
A. Alexandrov was to create large music and dance collective that combined first-class men's choir, original in its composition, the orchestra and dance group. Thus, a completely new and independent creative genre appeared which had no analogues in the world. Its activities marked the beginning of the creation and development of a new type of musical collectives – song and dance ensembles, not only in our country but abroad as well.

On February 19, 1933, the Ensemble performed for the first time in the State academic Bolshoi theatre of the USSR in front of country government. Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov had a conversation with Joseph Stalin, which predetermined the future of the Ensemble.
In subsequent years, the Ensemble grew in quantity (by the end of 1935, it was comprised of 135 singers, musicians and dancers), and cardinal qualitative changes took place as well. In 1935, the Ensemble was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, and the team was named the Red-Banner Song and Dance Ensemble of the Red Army of the USSR. In 1937, the group made its first foreign trip to the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Paris. The motto of the exhibition was, "Art and technology in the contemporary life”. The success of the Ensemble exceeded the boldest expectations. Fifteen concerts in France, thirteen of which took place in Paris, were a real triumph. The Grand Prix was bestowed to the Ensemble for the brilliant concert performance.

During the Great Patriotic War, the Red-Banner Ensemble performed concerts for the officers and soldiers for more than 1,400 times, 742 of them were at the forefront. The contribution to the elavation of martial spiriits of the Ensemble to the Victory is invaluable.
In the first war days, A.V. Alexandrov wrote music to V.Lebedev-Kumach lyrics – the song “The Holy War” appeared. The Red Army soldiers departed to the combat army from the Belorussian Railway terminus accompanied by this song.
On the eve of the 1944 New Year night, the new National Anthem of the USSR was broadcasted. A. Alexandrov composed the music, S. Mikhalkov and Gabriel El-Registan wrote the lyrics to it. It was performed by the Red-banner song and dance Ensemble directed by A. Alexandrov.

Alexander Alexandrov was the Ensemble director for 18 years. In 1946, his son – composer and conductor B.A. Alexandrov, followed his post. The latter had been holding this post until February 1987. The Ensemble was called "the-best-in-class in the military song squadron" due to his efforts.
The team was named after its founder on July 10, 1946. It was awarded the Red banner order on February 7, 1949 and the title was changed to “Twice Red-banner and Red-star Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army named after A.V. Alexandrov". In 1979, the team received the highest professional certification – the honorary title of "Academic" Ensemble.

Many famous composers wrote songs for the Ensemble. They were V. Soloviev-Sedoy, M. Fradkin, A. Novikov, I. Dunaevsky, M. Blanter, brothers Dmitry and Daniil Pokrass, A. Dolukhanyan, B. Mokrousov, T. Khrennikov, A. Pakhmutova and others.

The choir of the Alexandrov Ensemble is recognised as one of the best male choirs in the world. It combines the sonority and purity of the sound of an academic a cappella with the vivid emotionality and spontaneity inherent in folk performance, and demonstrates high vocal mastery. The dance group of the Ensemble with its sparkling and foot tapping numbers on the stage honourably holds the heights of choreographic art conquered by the Ensemble members. The choir, its soloists and dance group achievements depend to a large extent on the orchestra, which is unique in its composition, adaptable and harmonious in its sound. It successfully combines Russian folk instruments such as domras, balalaikas and button accordions with woodwind group and brass instruments.

The repertoire of the Ensemble includes more than two thousand music pieces. They are the songs by Soviet, Russian and foreign authors, folk songs and dances, sacred music, classical works by Russian and foreign composers, masterpieces of world rock and pop music, and soldiers' dances (saltations).

During its existence, the ensemble has toured through more than 70 countries around the world, has given concerts in all trouble spots, including Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Transnistria, Tajikistan, Chechen Republic, Syria.

All over the world, the Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army is equated with such famous brands as the Bolshoi Theatre, the Hermitage, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. And it has rightly earned this with its uniqueness and brilliant creative mastery.