RNO Percussion Ensemble

The Percussion Ensemble of the Russian National Orchestra plays with the full force and elegantly coordinated movements of four classically trained percussionists. Led by ensemble founder and co-principal Ilia Melikhov, the RNO Percussion Ensemble includes Alexander Suvorov, Vitaly Martyanov and Kirill Lukyanenko.

The Ensemble presents a diverse range of melodic and ethnic music, ranging from classical, jazz and popular styles to European, Asian and traditional Caribbean music composed for a vast assortment of percussion instruments—marimba, vibraphone, and xylophone; bass drum, timpani, bongos, toms, conga, and snare drums; gongs, cow-bells, tambourines, chimes, blocks and more.


Their repertoire is deployed in duos, trios, quartets and occasionally solos illustrating the percussionists’ skills and art. Some examples can be found at the following video links.


Mitos Brazilieros (1st and 5th mvt) by Ney Rosauro
Percussion quartet (duration 6’)
performed by RNO percussion group


Trio per Uno by Neboisha Zivkovich
Percussion trio (duration 5’),Performed by Ilya Melikhov and his students.


Rush Out by Taiki Nishihara.
Percussion duo (duration 10’), performed by Ilya Melikhov and Vitaly Martyanov


8/3, 9/2 by Robert Marino
Percussion duet ((duration 6’)
Performed by Ilya Melikhov and his student


Asventuras by Alexei Gerrassimec
Snare drum solo (duration 6’), Performed by Ilya Melikhov


The RNO Percussion Ensemble teaches master classes while touring in various countries. Here is a video of Ilya Melikhov’s percussion master class in the United States at the University of Nebraska.  

What They’re Saying

"To present American and Russian musicians performing and teaching together at Festival Napa Valley...is precisely the kind of effort that sustains vital cultural links...at a critical time for both societies. [This] resonates with the public [and] is meaningful for the musician participants...Cultural diplomacy and music offer alternatives to contention and sustain important linkages between our societies for the long run...Now more than ever we need viable citizen-to-citizen points of contact and dialogue."

James F. Collins (Ambassador Ret.)

Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace