Our History | Press | Past Concerts
Meet the Artistic Director
Board of Directors and Officers| Russian Musical Arts Society of America
The Russian Chamber Chorus of New York was founded in 1984 by Artistic Director and Conductor Nikolai Kachanov.
Over the course of thirty years, the chorus has become America's preeminent Russian vocal ensemble and one of the
world's greatest ambassadors of the Russian creative spirit.
Known for its stylistic versatility, richness of sound and subtlety of expression, RCCNY commands a wide repertoire,
from ancient liturgical chants to world premieres by leading contemporary composers.
Our mission is to promote intercultural awareness by commissioning, presenting, and recording new and
unknown works for American audiences.
Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom ?Chosen by New York Times critic James Oestreich to be number four on his list of the top ten classical CDs of 2001.
Tchaikovsky's Vespers: All-Night Vigil (Koch International) ?A "luxurious, rich interpretation" of this seminal liturgical work (Detroit Free Press).
Yuri Yukechev's two cantatas My Heart Is Ready and By Candlelight (Helicon) ?Two works by this contemporary Siberian composer, "superbly prepared…richly imagined and deftly realized" (The New York Times).
Nikolai Kachanov's Benevolence ?Two transcendent compositions interweaving East and West: Benevolence, a choral cycle,
and Reflections on Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan, for chorus, synthesizer and trumpets.
Carols and Songs features Ukrainian carols, arranged by Maestro Kachanov,
Rachmaninoff's Six Songs for Women's Voices and his Vocalise,
selections from Grechaninoff's Liturgia Domestica,
and Shchedryk, the Ukrainian folk song known as Carol of the Bells. "An outstanding
musical gift for the holidays... attractive compositions for every taste... singing with spirit, musicality and finesse...
will be thoroughly enjoyed" ( Musica Russica)
The chorus appeared on the nationally acclaimed NPR radio program "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor
in December 2009.
RCCNY collaborated with The Canticum Novum Singers to perform Schnittke's masterpiece Concerto for Choir.
Recently, RCCNY performed the first concert in the new series "Russia and Beyond,"
which presents many American premieres of choral music from Russia's neighboring countries. In the fall of 2011, the choir collaborated with
The Riverside Church Choir in the program "Reflections: Ten Years Later."
RCCNY has become a regular presence in Carnegie Hall. In June 2008, RCCNY participated in Stars of the Kirov Celebrate Russia Day, under the sponsorship of the Russian Mission to the United Nations. The group appeared in November 2007, together with the Dessoff Choirs, in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov. In April 2005, RCCNY performed in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the Kirov Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. New York Times reviewer Allan Kozinn described the choral sound as "glorious." Earlier Carnegie Hall appearances include performances with the Czech Philharmonic under Vladimir Ashkenazy (February 2003);
with the Moscow Virtuosi under Vladimir Spivakov (November 1997); at the Moscow 850th Anniversary Gala (September 1997); and with the American-Russian Youth Orchestra under Leon Botstein.
Also at Carnegie Hall, RCCNY participated in concert presentations of two American premieres: Mikis Theodorakis's opera Electra (June 2000) and Sergei Taneyev's opera Agamemnon (June 2004), both with the Manhattan Philharmonic under Peter Tiboris and The Aquila Theatre Company featuring Olympia Dukakis.
This collaboration continued in June 2006 with a concert version of Cherubini's Medee.
In 2000, the chorus performed Rachmaninoff's Liturgy at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's "Re-Encountering Rachmaninoff" festival. James Oestreich (The New York Times) praised the group for the "suppleness and otherworldliness of its sound," and Willa Conrad (The Star-Ledger) hailed the chorus's "stylistic purity" and "exciting, spontaneous" performance. RCCNY's performance of Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, at the Bard College "Tchaikovsky Rediscoveries" festival in 1998,
was called "splendid, radiant, and sonorous" by Paul Griffith (The New York Times).
In 2001, RCCNY performed Rachmaninoff's monumental Vespers: All-Night Vigil to sold-out audiences at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The same year, the chorus performed excerpts from Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostome at the New York Festival of Sacred Music, produced by John Schaefer and Philip Glass at the request of the Dalai Lama.
That event, part of a World Festival of Sacred Music that spanned two years and 19 cities, was simulcast on WNYC-FM. In November 2003, RCCNY performed a sold-out program celebrating the 300th anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg as the culminating event of the Harriman Institute Symposium, St. Petersburg Through American Eyes, and in fall 2005 performed at the Guggenheim Museum as part of the opening celebration for its Russia! exhibit.
Russian Chamber Chorus performances of contemporary and little-known music have been hailed by critics. Mr. Oestreich (The New York Times) called the chorus's "superbly prepared cantata performances" of music by Yuri Yukechev "extraordinary; richly imagined and deftly realized." Subsequently, First Art, a radio program devoted to choral music,
aired Yukechev's My Heart is Ready across the United States.
The Library of Congress used ancient znamenny chants performed by chorus members for its documentary Old Believers, part of the Great Heritage series; and performances by RCCNY have been featured on "New Sounds" with John Shaefer and "Around New York" with Fred Child (WNYC-FM).
The chorus has performed contemporary music by composers including Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, Zakhar Blyakher, Feliksas Bajoras, Victor Copytsko, Efrem Podgaits, Vladimir Ryabov, Yuri Yukechev, and Michael Zeiger, as well as original compositions and arrangements by Nikolai Kachanov. Many of these works were written specifically for RCCNY.
The chorus collaborated with the Bachanalia Chamber Orchestra and Nina Beilina in a rare full-score performance of Alexander Gretchaninoff's Liturgia Domestica; it premiered Alexei Haieff's long-lost masterworks, Holy Week and Easter, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in April 2002. In July of 2004, members of RCCNY performed in Sir John Tavener's groundbreaking all-night vigil The Veil of the Temple at the Lincoln Center Festival.
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