Pletnev, Dropped by Mother Russia, Forms a New Orchestra Elsewhere

By Nicholas Beard, Musical America

Having essentially been dropped as artistic director of the Russian National Orchestra (RNO), the group he founded in 1990 with the support of the then-Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian conductor/pianist/composer Mikhail Pletnev, now living in Switzerland, has decided to launch his own orchestra.

Banished from the RNO, Pletnev has brought a group of musicians together in Bratislava and conducted what has since been named the Rachmaninoff International Orchestra in a recording of the Suite from Swan Lake and the Carmen Suite by Rodion Shchedrin. Many of the musicians are from Russia, some from Ukraine, Vienna, and Bratislava. More recordings are planned.

“Mikhail Pletnev has deepened his commitment to artistic freedom with his founding of the Rachmaninoff International Orchestra,” said Sergey Markov, RIO General Manager. “The orchestra has a vital role to play in bridging divides and inspiring peace through the universal language of music.”

The RIO’s initial press release points out that its namesake loved his country but left “due to the political forces in his homeland” and never returned.

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