Short Form Biography
The Russian National Orchestra was founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev. Maintaining an active international schedule, the RNO has appeared in the music capitals of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, is a frequent guest at festivals such as Edinburgh, the BBC Proms, and Festival Napa Valley, and presents the RNO Grand Festival each September to open the Moscow season.
RNO concerts are often aired on National Public Radio, the European Broadcasting Union, and Russia’s Kultura channel. Its discography, launched with a highly praised 1991 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, now numbers more than 80 critically acclaimed recordings. Notable releases include the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos (Deutsche Grammophon), Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies (Pentatone), and the RNO Shostakovich project (Pentatone), which has been described as the most exciting recorded cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies. The orchestra’s recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Beintus’s Wolf Tracks, conducted by Kent Nagano and narrated by Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton, and Mikhail Gorbachev, received a 2004 Grammy Award, making the RNO the first Russian orchestra to win the recording industry’s highest honor. Its recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, conducted by Paavo Järvi, was awarded the 2015 Diapason d’Or de l’Année as the year’s best symphonic album, and was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award.
The RNO is unique among the principal Russian ensembles as an institution funded with the support of individuals, corporations and foundations in Russia and throughout the world.