The Footlights and Life #49, 1910.
"For the previous 10 years I.I.Yukhov's choir, lead by an experienced and energetic conductor, has reached such accuracy and harmony that you can only find with hard-working and devoted people."
AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
The Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir is one of the oldest Russian choral groups. Its history goes back to the turn of the 20th century. A family ensemble was founded in the town of Shchelkovo, Moscow Province, in 1900 by Ivan Yukhov (1870–1943), a peasant's son, educated to be a performer at the Christian Music School. Shortly afterwards Yukhov and his friends joined the Mytishchi Carriage Works Choir and the Rabinek Factory Choir.
At first, Christian music prevailed in their repertoire, and the choir sang in Moscow churches. As the repertoire increased, they were getting more and more admirers, making their first gramophone records. The choir was invited to participate in professional theatre performances.
Before long, Yukhov's choir became one of the most popular in Moscow and sang together with famous Moscow deacons, such as K.V. Rozov, A.P. Zdikhovsky, M.K. Kholmogorov, and V.P. Rizpolozhensky, as well as with Imperial Theatre soloists A.V. Nezhdanova and V.R. Petrov.
THE ERA OF YURLOV
"A musician has to do more than he believes he can. He has to do the impossible. This is when the genuine expressiveness and genuine artistry arise."
The appointment of Alexander Yurlov as Conductor and Director in 1958 was the making of the choir. This immensely energetic and extremely talented young man changed the image of the choir through sheer patience and devotion, aspiring to perfection through the joy of creation and reaching the point of excellence.
It was a triumph achieved by a combination of a strong will, mighty energy, and unsurpassed skillfulness. Along with his work in the choir, Mr. Yurlov headed the department of choral conducting at the Gnessin Institute and taught at the Soviet Choral Society.
Yurlov participated with the choir in various concerts and festivals, some of which he organized himself. Quite often there were amateur groups on the same stage with the choir; professional choral performances joined with young talents was his bold innovation. Other choirs had never tried it before Yurlov. Thanks to Yurlov, the Choir after many years finally acquired a permanent rehearsal room. It was the Church of the Protecting Veil of Our Lady of Rubtsov, built in 1627. The ancient deserted temple was restored especially for the Choir.
Yurlov was responsible for the reintroduction of many priceless musical masterpieces and previously forgotten 16th -18th century traditional Russian Christian music.
In 1967, the Choir performed at the International Festival in Bydgoshche, Poland with a unique Russian Christian music program. During the years of Khrushchev's church persecution and later Brezhnev's stagnation, the reintroduction of Russian choral culture landmarks of the 16th to the 18th centuries, including those dating back to the reign of Peter the Great, such as compositions by N. Diletsky, V. Titov, N. Kalashnikov, A. Vedel, M. Berezovsky, and D. Bortnyansky, was nothing short of an outstanding feat. Previously forgotten priceless Russian musical masterpieces sounded from the stage again.
This event earned wide response. And not just because there was a spirit of freedom – in this reviving tradition Russians felt deep roots of their native culture.
In 1966, the Choir was given an academic title for outstanding service in music, and in 1969, it was decorated with a medal of the Labor Red Banner. During an international choral festival in Italy, the Choir was awarded with Rome Prize (1969).
The Choir participated in premieres of Russian music masterpieces of the 20th century as before. Many of their performances of choral, cantata, and oratorio music works by Russian and Western European composers are acknowledged as the golden standard of choral performance.
THE STATE ACADEMIC CHORAL CAPELLA OF RUSSIA NAMED AFTER A. YURLOV
The Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir is one of the most prominent music groups of long standing in Russia.
This choir stands quite apart from the rest of similar companies due to its unique repertoire covering nearly all types of Russian and West-European cantata and oratorio genres, ranging from Bach's High Mass in B Minor to the 20th-century music, as, for instance, Britten's War Requiem or Requiem by Alfred Schnitke. It includes the best of the world's opera materials in its concert programs. And yet, it is mostly devoted to what is spiritually the closest to the Yurlov Choir, Russian sacred music by Bortnyansky, Berezovsky, Kastalsky, Grechaninov, Chesnokov, and Rachmaninov, among other Russian composers. It is also famous for its most inspired, vivid presentation of Russian folk songs, both in their classical and modern variations. Following the tradition of big Russian choirs, this Choir possesses an extremely wide sound range, trying to synthesize the rich and deep timbres with flowing intonations and masterly motions of singing.
The Yurlov Choir is a regular participant in such Russian and international music festivals as The Cherry Forest, Moscow Autumn, Autumn Festival of the Moscow Conservatory, Moscow Easter Festival, International Festival of Sacred Music held in Vilnius and Kaunas, and International Festival of Church Music organized in Warsaw, Krakow and Białystok.
The company devotes much time to foreign tours, winning wide international recognition since the inception of the "Yurlov era". Its guest tour itinerary includes over twenty countries, including France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Great Britain, among others. Its presentations, always bright, majestic, and melodious, are enchanting, and their audiences are carried away, as foreign newspapers point out in their reviews. For the last five years the Choir gave more than 100 concerts in Russia and all over the world, including the Russian Golden Ring cities of Rostov, Yaroslavl, Vladimir, etc., as well as cities in the Volga Area, the Urals, and Siberia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Poland, North Korea and Spain.
The Choir's director since 2004, Gennady Dmitryak is a prominent Russian choir and orchestra conductor. He is engaged in a great deal of concerts in Russia and beyond, apart from his activity as the head of the choir conducting department and professor of the Moscow State University of Arts and Culture.
Gennady Dmitryak frequently appears as a jury member at international choir contests. For several years he had held the position of head of the choir and conducting master classes at the Summer Religious Academy in Serbia. He has had produced quite a few recordings and ten CDs of four centuries of Russian sacred music.
Gennady Dmitryak took great efforts to bring the Yurlov Choir's art of singing to perfection and widen the scope of its concert and educational activity. The Choir today is one of the most popular and successful music groups in Russia.
The Choir gives concerts together with such renowned companies as the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra, the Novaya Russia State Academic Orchestra, the Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra under Pavel Kogan, the Russian Philarmonic Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and the Russian Cinematography SSO. In the last few years, the Yurlov choir has appeared in concerts under many famous symphony orchestra conductors, among them Gorenshtein, Bashmet, Kogan, Curentzis, Skripka, Nekrasov, Sladkovsky, Fedotov, Stadler, Schtrobel, and Kapasso.