The Alexandrov Choir with Dance Ensemble, Warsaw
The Alexandrov Ensemble (Russian: Анса́мбль Алекса́ндрова, tr. Ansámbl′ Aleksándrova; commonly known as the Red Army Choir 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), shortened to Academic Ensemble (Russian: Академи́ческий анса́мбль, tr. Akademíchesky ansámbl′) 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. The Red Army Choir singers and dancers were en route to Syria to entertain Russian troops there for Orthodox Christmas celebrations.