history of the choir
In 1992, the Don KosakenChor Russland – consisting of professional singers living in Russia – was founded in its spiritual cradle, the Russian Federation. Marcel “Nicolajevich” Verhoeff was appointed chief conductor of the company in 1993. In 1999, during the first lustrum of the choir, the status of “Army Choir” was granted. The choir consists of 24 vocalists. Many of them are affiliated with one of the famous Russian Opera houses and work with great conviction and energy with their chief conductor Marcel N. Verhoeff. The choir’s management attaches great value to creating new opportunities for young talent. Auditions are held annually in Moscow. The young singers are trained and then take place in the official choir. The rehearsals take place in the Zueva Theater in the center of Moscow and are initially led by the choir’s rehearsal director, Kyrill Krayushkin, who takes care of the rehearsal of the new repertoire. After that chief conductor Marcel N. Verhoeff will work on balance, colour and interpretation.
The choir has already had many high peaks. They performed twice for the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation in the White House in Moscow. The choir also gave major concerts in various countries such as Turkey, Israel, the Netherlands (including Concertgebouw & Hermitage in Amsterdam), Germany (including Michealiskirche in Hamburg, NDR-Grosser Sendersaal in Hanover and at the Russian Consulate in Bonn) Belgium (including Royal Theater in Bruges), France and Slovenia. Don KosakenChor Russland is now a welcome guest on the national and international concert stages
Some Milestones In The History Of The Choir
After a successful tour through Turkey in October 2002, thechoir was immediately asked to give a concert in Cyprus in 2003. Invitations to perform at the important festivals in Turkey followed. After the choir’s successful performance in Moscow in 2000, the Don KosakenChor Russland gave another special concert at the White House at the invitation of the Administration of the President, the Federation Council, State Duma and the Court of Auditors of the Russian Federation. At the special invitation of the Russian ambassador to Slovenia the choir gave a concert in December 2005 during the Ljubljana Festival. An impressive recording of a concert was also made in January of the same year. On December 3, 2006, the Don KosakenChor Russland gave a major benefit concert in Moscow for the Down-Side Up Foundation. Subsequently the choir also gave a special concert in the State Duma, the Russian Parliament, at the invitation of that parliament on 5 December.
Due to the Cossacks’ connection with the Russian Orthodox Church, the Don KosakenChor Russland recorded an authentic Christmas night vespers in the Blessed Virgin Cathedral in Izmailovo in Moscow in October 2008. This was done in collaboration with the University of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Regent of the Danilov Monastery. This recording “Christmas in Russia: Russian Orthodox Vespers” was released worldwide in October 2010 on the Christophorus label. The Deutsche Grammophon label recently released the CD “Aus den Herzen Ruslands”, a compilation of the old Don Cossacks choir conducted by Serge Jaroff and the Don KosakenChor Russland conducted by Marcel N. Verhoeff. A unique combination!
In the famous Dom Muzika in Moscow, the choir gave a big gala concert in November 2010.The success of the CD “Christmas in Russia” prompted the record company to make a new recording. In January 2011 the CD “A Russian Romance” was recorded, including repertoire from the 60s and 70s of the last century. This CD was also was also a great success.
In December 2017 the choir performed in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam during the Sunday afternoon matinee. The AVROTROS turned this into a TV special. This was broadcast primetime on New Year’s Eve 2017 with a repeat on January 6, 2018. The same TV special was also broadcast twice in 2019 due to its great success. Just before the Corona crisis, the Don KosakenChor Russland concluded a successful tour in the 2019/2020 season with many sold-out venues in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The new CD release “The Greatest Hits” will be released on the Tyrolis label in April 2021 and a Christmas CD will be released in the autumn of 2021, also on the Tyrolis label.
Instrumental Soloists Ensemble ‘Philarmonia’
The choir is accompanied by the six-piece Instrumental Soloists Ensemble ‘Philarmonia’. This special, professional group consists of laureates who, with great pleasure and love, play the authentic Russian folk instruments such as the Bayan, Balalaika and Domra in a virtuoso way. Many of them teach at the foremost institutions in Moscow, give solo concerts and are regularly invited as soloists with the Great Russian symphony orchestras.
The leader of the ensemble, Valery Elchick, also makes, in consultation with Marcel N. Verhoeff, all arrangements for the choir and ensemble. The Instrumental Soloists Ensemble ‘Philarmonia’ also attaches great importance to the development of new talent, offering young – very talented – instrumentalists an opportunity to gain stage experience during the extensive tours of the Don KosakenChor Russland.
The combination of the vocals, accompanied by the authentic Russian folk instruments, guarantees a compelling musical Russian evening in which the Soul of Russia comes to the fore.
This document was issued by the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation in gratitude for the concert given by the Don KosakenChor Russland – chief conductor Marcel N. Verhoeff – at the White House in Moscow in December 2000 for the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation.
This letter is to confirm that Don Cossack’s Chorus (Don KosakenChor Russland) is the only official Chorus at Cossack’s Society “Vsevelikoye Voisko Donskoye” by appointment of the President of Russian Federation on June 17, 1997 N 612. The aim of creating the Don Cossack’s Chorus is propagandizing of Russian and Cossack musical heritage both in Russia and abroad. Don Cossack’s Chorus (Don KosakenChor Russland) is registered in Moscow Register Chamber on December 2, 1997.