The idea of founding a symphony orchestra in Tatarstan came from Nazib Zhiganov, Chairman of the Union of Composers of Tatarstan and rector of the Kazan State Conservatoire. On his initiative, the conductor Natan Rakhlin was invited to Kazan to form an orchestra.
On 10 April 1967 at the Tatar Opera and Ballet Theatre the Symphony Orchestra of the State Tukai Philharmonic of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic gave its first performance under the baton of Natan Rakhlin. The first thirteen years proved to be some of the most exciting in the orchestra’s history: the ensemble undertook successful tours to Moscow as well as other major towns and cities in the USSR, while in Tatarstan its popularity knew no limits.
Starting in 1979, after Natan Rakhlin’s death Renat Salavatov, Sergei Kalagin, Ravil Martynov and Imant Kotsinsh all worked with the orchestra. In 1985 Fuat Mansurov was invited to take the post of the orchestra’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and went on to work with the orchestra for twenty-five years. In 2010, following Fuat Mansurov’s death, Alexander Sladkovsky became the orchestra’s new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. With his appointment the ensemble embarked on a new stage of its history.
International music festivals organised by the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan – Rakhlin Seasons, White Lilac, Kazan Autumn, Concordia, Denis Matsuev and Friends and Creative Discovery – are all vivid events in the nation’s cultural life. The orchestra runs the project The Property of the Republic for talented pupils at music schools and students of the conservatoire, the educational project Music Lessons with an Orchestra for Kazan school pupils and the project Healing through Music for severely ill children. The ensemble has been a winner of the competition Philanthropist of the Year (2011 and 2013), founded by the President of Tatarstan.
The State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan is one of the finest ensembles in Russia. The ensemble has appeared in concerts to great acclaim in Moscow, Perm, Orenburg, Irkutsk, Sochi and Tyumen and at the Crescendo, Stars on Baikal, Denis Matsuev’s Orenburg Seasons, The Cherry Orchard and Hibla Gerzmava Invites festivals among others. In April 2014 the orchestra took part in a concert at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at a ceremony where Denis Matsuev was made a Goodwill Ambassador. In 2015 the orchestra performed at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre.
In 2012 the orchestra recorded an anthology of music by Tatar composers and the album Brightening up on the Sony Music and RCA Red Seal labels. Since 2013 the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan has been an artist of Sony Music Entertainment Russia. The orchestra’s concerts have been recorded and broadcast by the TV companies Mezzo and Medici.tv.
Over the years the orchestra has collaborated with countless internationally acclaimed performers, among them Galina Vishnevskaya, Irina Arkhipova, Olga Borodina, Lyubov Kazarnovskaya, Hibla Gerzmava, Sumi Jo, Simone Kermes, Albina Shagimuratova, Tatiana Serjan, Anna Bonitatibus, Dinara Alieva, Plácido Domingo, Roberto Alagna, Zurab Sotkilava, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Vasily Gerello, Ildar Abdrazakov, Vladimir Spivakov, Viktor Tretyakov, Igor Oistrakh, Vadim Repin, Sergei Krylov, Gidon Kremer, Alena Baeva, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniil Shafran, David Geringas, Sergei Roldugin, Mikhail Pletnev, Nikolai Petrov, Vladimir Krainev, Vladimir Viardo, Lazar Berman, Denis Matsuev, Boris Berezovsky Barry Douglas, Nikolai Lugansky, Alexander Toradze, Ekaterina Mechetina, Ramzi Yassa, Ksenia Bashmet, Igor Butman, Sergei Nakariakov and Alexei Ogrintchouk.
The ensemble has also collaborated with the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir, the State Russian Sveshnikov Chorus, the Masters of Choral Singing chorus directed by Lev Kontorovich, the Chorus of the St Petersburg State Capella and the Vladimir Minin Moscow Chamber Chorus.