Cultural Allies

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.

Cultural Allies encompasses residencies and exchanges, workshops and master classes, commissioning projects and performances. Participants include conductors, pianists, classical and jazz musicians, opera singers and composers. These artists come from different ethnic traditions and mirror the cultural diversity of each of their countries.

Cultural Allies has made possible:

Master classes in viola, percussion and flute at colleges and universities around the country, during the RNO’s 2016 tour in the United States.

An cultural exchange between the United States Army Brass Quintet and the RNO Brass Quintet in March 2009. The two brass quintets presented a concert and seminar in Washington, DC titled "Music from The Czar's Library." The program will premiere a new composition, "Suite from The Czar's Library," arranged by composer-conductor Andrey Rubtsov. The project was co-sponsored by the Russian Arts Foundation, the Embassy of the Russian Federation, the European Division of the Library of Congress and the Kennan Institute.

A multi-year project with the late Dave Brubeck and the Brubeck Institute to explore the arts alliances of America and Russia, and of jazz and classical music. This partnership continues with Chris Brubeck, the jazz great’s son.

The Russian debuts of conductors Kent Nagano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, James Judd, Carlo Ponti, Jr. and Charles Ketcham, and of soprano Jessye Norman.

Residencies and exchanges that brought conductor/pianist Mikhail Pletnev to the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. and RNO principal flutist Maxim Rubtsov to the San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony. Rubtsov and principal trumpet Vladislav Lavrik have also done residencies at universities and colleges across the US. 

The participation of Janice Chandler (soprano), Kenneth Cox (bass) and Robert Lee (tenor) in a performance of Mozart's Requiem in Kiev in September 2002. Held on the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the concert was a deeply moving experience for the RNO, the international cast and an audience that included dignitaries from Ukraine, other former Soviet republics and the US.

The collaboration of Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the RNO on the highly successful Ellington Centennial in 1999. 

Cultural Allies has received funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Starr Foundation and other generous supporters. For further information please contact Nicolle Foland.