Russian National Orchestra

Press Acclaim

Acclaim for 20th Anniversary US Tour

Sarasota, FL

From Russia, with skill

"The Russian National Orchestra... brought enormous skill and excitement to the Van Wezel [Sarasota, FL] on Friday evening, demonstrating again the power of musical energy in the hands of highly motivated musicians. Under the athletic leadership of their American guest conductor, Patrick Summers, [the] orchestra produced sound of impressive power and solidity, transparent and beautifully balanced from top to bottom... the audience was bathed in a rich European sound, consistent across all the voices of the orchestra... An austere and lovely experience was the result."

Sarasota Herald-Tribune (March 2010) [more]

West Palm Beach, FL

"The world-class Russian National Orchestra was the marquee attraction of the Regional Arts Series' Wednesday matinee at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach... Summers drew exciting playing from the orchestra, the intonation and perfect execution of the exposed horn parts a standout... The Russian orchestra's strings have the deep sonority and heft of a great pipe organ while the winds are solid and distinctive, unmarred by the heavy vibrato that plagued Russian orchestras in the past. With brass that can be alternately brilliant or mellow, this is an orchestra that can turn on a dime. The ensemble shone resplendently in Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in G Major, exhibiting strength in every section from the first chairs to the last stands... Concertmaster Alexei Bruni's solo in the second movement, marked by generous rubato and extra tonal sweetness, recalled a past generation of Russian violinists."

South Florida Classical Review (March 2010) [more]

Kansas City, MO

"The Russian National Orchestra... [played] a program of 19th century Slavic music with chamber-like precision... Unison playing was really remarkable, especially by the strings, and [conductor Patrick] Summers' precise wind and brass voice leading helped clarify the sound even more... its playing was beautifully precise. It made the music's scoring and architecture easy to enjoy."

Kansas City Star (February 2010)

Denver, CO

Russian orchestra makes triumphant return to Denver

"The Russian National Orchestra's appearance two years ago in the Newman Center Presents series ranks among Denver's classical highlights of that season and, indeed, the entire decade... [This year] American guest conductor Patrick Summers... delivered a high-caliber performance of his own. Summers conveyed the overall power and sweep of the evening's culminating work, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4... An added attraction was Denver's first opportunity to hear Yuja Wang. The 23-year-old soloist's distinctive interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 … made it clear why she has caused such a stir in classical circles."

Denver Post (February 2010) [more]

Cerritos, CA

Russian National Orchestra shines in Cerritos

"On Saturday, the world's youngest major orchestra played in Cerritos at the Center for the Performing Arts [and] gave a terrific performance… [Pletnev's] conducting is orderly and his beat is serene, and so is the music resulting from it. Without a heavy beat, the music moves forward easily and gracefully, without resistance in slow or fast tempos, as if it were on ice skates. His Russian National Orchestra mirrored Pletnev's approach Saturday. Its tone is warm, but it waits and waits, stating the musical facts in an easy manner, no muss, no fuss. But it's not a lack of commitment. It's an attitude that strong music, clearly and cleanly dispatched, will do its thing if you let it, and it did… I can't remember hearing a better performance of [Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto] live. Jackiw would appear to have it all – a commanding technique, taste, intelligence and, best of all, real feeling.…Pletnev supported him quietly and calmly, his baton sometimes barely stirring the air, but it worked. He opened the concert with a similarly understated account of the Elegy from Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 3, beautifully played…"

Orange County Register (February 2010) [more]

Cerritos, CA

"A miracle of perestroika"

"The Russian National Orchestra, a miracle of perestroika, was founded by Mikhail Pletnev 20 years ago. The first orchestra in Russia with no state support, it broke all the rules. It was an orchestra with no tradition, led by a pianist with little conducting or ensemble building experience. Yet from the start, the orchestra proved one of the world's great ensembles... The concert in Cerritos, conducted by Pletnev, was glorious… Pletnev is not a demonstrative conductor. At the podium he looks like a plutocrat who can make things happen by snapping his fingers. With the flick of a wrist he exquisitely shaped each phrase and controlled extraordinarily delicate dynamics… the string tone was as rich and pleasing a blend as can be found this side of Vienna... Pletnev was a marvelous accompanist [to Stefan Jackiw in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto]. He did not inhibit Jackiw, letting a young virtuoso go where he would while saving him from recklessness… Pletnev's performance was very subtle, operating on the level of profound understatement."

Los Angeles Times (February 2010)

Seattle, WA

Russian National Orchestra pleases with all-Slavic program

"The Russian National Orchestra…tour began in Seattle on Wednesday night, and the event drew a packed house of very pleased people. Conductor Mikhail Pletnev led the orchestra in an all-Slavic program.… The full orchestra sounded like it had spent a lifetime with our acoustics. From the witty skipping feel of the first movement [of Shostakovich Symphony No. 9] to the meandering puzzle of the fifth, the orchestra showed discipline and verve throughout this fascinating, twisting piece. The calls for an encore were quite deserved."

Seattle Times (February 2010) [more]

Seattle, WA

RNO Sweetens a Dvorak Suite, Sharpens Shostakovich

"I don't think [Shostakovich's] Ninth can yet... transcend its context, the place of its birth. It's not a work you think of as strictly musical, freighted with meaning and argument as it is. But nothing brings all that home, I discovered, quite like hearing the Russian National Orchestra perform it."

The Sun Break (Seattle) (February 2010) [more]

Seattle, WA

"You could be forgiven for thinking the RNO exists mainly to give classical music critics the chance to outdo each other with superlatives."

The Sun Break (Seattle) (February 2010) [more]