The Russian National Orchestra began as a courageous demonstration of artistic freedom during the Soviet regime. Now, over a quarter century later, it is recognized as one of the world's top orchestras. Since 1992, the Foundation has provided critical financial and organizational support to help this magnificent orchestra achieve the renown it deserves.
Since 2003, the Foundation has been bringing musicians and artists into Russian orphanages and institutions for disabled children as well as performing The Nutcracker annually at a concert for disadvantaged children. Art and music have added a new dimension to the lives of these challenged youth. As a result, the Foundation's program is changing attitudes about how these institutions should help and treat the children in their charge.
The Foundation commissioned Jean-Pascal Beintus to compose Wolf Tracks, developed under the artistic direction of conductor Kent Nagano. The 2004 recording, narrated by President Bill Clinton, won the first Grammy by a Russian orchestra. The Wolf Tracks story is told from the perspective of the wolf. No longer the fearsome creature of Prokofiev's creation, the wolf becomes a reflection of the balance that must exist between human and wildlife populations in a modern world and represents the value of protecting earth’s natural resources.
Cultural Allies is an ongoing program of arts exchange involving musicians, performing arts organizations, universities and arts professionals. Initiated by the Russian Arts Foundation in partnership with the Russian National Orchestra, it is a powerful expression of the RAF's mission to promote international understanding through the arts.