Alexandrov Ensemble

The Alexandrov Choir with Dance Ensemble, Warsaw 2009
The Alexandrovci with Iosif Kobzon as soloist
The Alexandrov Ensemble, Bielsko-Biala, 2006

The Alexandrov Ensemble (Russian: Анса́мбль Алекса́ндрова, tr. Ansámbl′ Aleksándrova; commonly known as the Red Army Choir[1] in the West) is an official army choir of the Russian armed forces. Founded during the Soviet era, the ensemble consists of a male choir, an orchestra, and a dance ensemble.

The Ensemble has entertained audiences both in Russia and throughout the world, performing a range of music including folk tunes, hymns, operatic arias and popular music. The group's repertoire has included The Volga Boatmen's Song, Katyusha, Kalinka, and Ave Maria.

It is named for its first director, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov (1883–1946). Its formal name since 1998 has been A. V. Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army (Russian: Академи́ческий анса́мбль пе́сни и пля́ски Росси́йской А́рмии и́мени А. В. Алекса́ндрова, tr. Akademíchesky ansámbl′ pésni i plyáski Rossýskoy Ármii ímeni A. V. Aleksándrova),[2] shortened to Academic Ensemble (Russian: Академи́ческий анса́мбль, tr. Akademíchesky ansámbl′)[2] on second reference.

On 25 December 2016, its artistic director, Valery Khalilov, and 63 other members of the Ensemble were killed in the Russian Defence Ministry aircraft crash of a 1983 Tupolev Tu-154 into the Black Sea just after takeoff from the southern resort city of Sochi, Russia.[1][3] The Red Army Choir singers and dancers were en route to Syria to entertain Russian troops there for Orthodox Christmas celebrations.[4]


At the establishment, in 1928, the choir was named Red Army Song Ensemble of the M. V. Frunze Red Army Central House (Russian: Анса́мбль красноарме́йской пе́сни Центра́льного до́ма Кра́сной А́рмии и́мени М. В. Фру́нзе, tr. Ansámbl′ krasnoarméyskoy pésni Tsentrál′nogo dóma Krásnoy Ármii ímeni M. V. Frúnze). In 1935, it was renamed Red-Bannered Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble of the USSR (Russian: Краснознамённый анса́мбль красноарме́йской пе́сни и пля́ски СССР, tr. Krasnozamyónny ansámbl′ krasnoarméyskoy pésni i plyáski SSSR).

In 1949 the ensemble was officially named the A. V. Alexandrov Twice Red-bannered and Red-starred Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army (Дважды Краснознамённый ордена Красной Звезды ансамбль песни и пляски Советской Армии имени А. В. Александрова Russian: Два́жды Краснознамённый о́рдена Кра́сной Звезды́ анса́мбль пе́сни и пля́ски Сове́тской А́рмии и́мени А. В. Алекса́ндрова, tr. Dvázhdy Krasnoznamyonny órdena Krásnoy Zvezdý ansámbl′ pésni i plyáski Sovétskoy Ármii ímeni A. V. Aleksándrova). In 1978 the word "academic" was added to the title (A. V. Alexandrov Twice Red-bannered and Red-starred Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the ensemble received its present name in 1998.

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