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25th anniversary celebrations by the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York end with a surprise
by Mimi S. Daitz for Vocal Area Network
Posted December 8, 2009

Russian Chamber Chorus of New YorkThe Russian Chamber Chorus of New York (RCCNY) was created in 1984 by Nikolai Kachanov and his wife, Tamara. That makes 2009 the 25th year the group has been performing and garnering rave reviews for its work. Accordingly, their concerts on December 13 and 16, 2009 are entitled "Russian Treasures: Highlights from Our 25-Year History."

Nikolai Kachanov came to the United States in 1981. His background, including a doctorate in choral conducting from the Novosibirsk Conservatory and years as a professional conductor and Conservatory teacher in Russia, gave him an extraordinary knowledge of the Russian repertoire as well as of the subtleties of its authentic performance practice. And he has maintained ties with composers still living in Siberia, enabling the RCCNY to give American and world premiere performances of Russian works. Although the chorus performs both sacred and secular pieces, among its most interesting discoveries are sacred works written during Soviet times but not performed until many years later.

The up-coming concert programs range from Romantic works by well-known composers such as Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Grechaninov, to those by composers whose music is little known here, including Sergei Taneev (1850-1918), Nikolai Golovanov (1891-1953), Nikolai Tostiakov (1883-1958) and Alexander Egorov (1887-1959). A great deal of rehearsal time is devoted to vocal techniques that will produce the sounds Kachanov knows are appropriate to the various styles the chorus sings. The warmly resonant sound of the Russian Romantics will be modified for 20th-century masters such as Gyorgy Sviridov and Alfred Schnittke. And further vocal adjustments are made for Russian folk songs, heard in these programs in settings by the 86-year-old Siberian composer Zakhar Blyakher, now residing in Israel.

Of course these celebratory concerts cannot include those important milestones in RCCNY's history that were collaborations with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (Alexander Nevsky), or the Kirov Orchestra (Mahler's Symphony No. 2), or the concert performance of Taneev's opera Agamemnon with The Manhattan Philharmonic, all performed in Carnegie Hall.

But an even larger audience will hear several of the a cappella pieces from the December concerts--the surprise mentioned above. On December 19, between 6:00 and 8:00 PM EST, the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York will be heard on Garrison Keillor's NPR show, A Prairie Home Companion. The show will be broadcast live from New York's Town Hall and promises to be an exciting grand finale to the anniversary celebrations.

For more information, visit www.rccny.org.

Mimi S. Daitz is a choral conductor in New York City who is currently singing with the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York.

Content Contact: Mimi S. Daitz.
Revision Date: December 8, 2009.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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