Valery Khalilov, Artistic Director of the Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army, died on 25 December 2016 after a plane crashed that had been heading for Syria to organise New Year events. Another ninety-one people died in the crash including sixty-four performers of the Alexandrov Ensemble.
Khalilov had been the director of the ensemble for just half a year (from April 2016), but he had spent his entire life in the world of military music. His father was also a military conductor, having graduated from the military conducting faculty of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. Having resolved to continue the family tradition, Valery Khalilov entered the Moscow Military School of Music, later entering the military conducting faculty.
On conclusion of his studies he became a military conductor of the orchestra of the Pushkin High School of Radio Electronics Anti-Aircraft Defence Unit, later teaching at the faculty of conducting at his alma mater. From 1984 he served in the management of the military orchestra service of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR. From 2002 to 2016 he was the head of the military orchestra service of the Russian Armed Forces. Following his appointment as Artistic Director of the Alexandrov Ensemble of Song and Dance he dedicated his energies to the development of this highly-acclaimed Russian music ensemble. Has toured with leading military orchestras of Russia to Austria, Sweden, the USA, Hungary, Germany, North Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Finland, France, Switzerland and Belgium.
In addition to his performing activities, Valery Khalilov has been involved in organising military music events. He has directed the festivals Amur Waves (Khabarovsk) and March of the Century (Tambov), the Sakhalin International Festival of Military Orchestras (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk) and many other music forums.
Khalilov has composed music &nadsh; religious, choral, vocal and chamber-instrumental. His most famous and frequently performed works include the march General Miloradovich, which is dedicated to a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812.
On 26 December 2016 the Defence Minister of the Russian Federation accepted the decision to add Valery Khalilov's name to the Moscow Military School of Music.