One of the best things about living in Russia is that every so often you discover something new, quite incredible and unique. The Academic Choir of Moscow State University is such a phenomenon. On March 26 of the choir held a concert, called Gaudeamus Igitur (Let Us Rejoice) in the Kamerny Zal of the Moscow Dom Muziki.
The choir that performed in March was made up of 69 choristers; 38 female and 31 male. Most of the singers are drawn from the current stock of students at Moscow University. There are also some postgraduates, professors, alumni and visiting professional performers. The choir is the oldest amateur choir in Russia and celebrated its 230th anniversary in 2005. The choir has participated in international competitions, such as in Riva del Garda in Italy in 1998, and the Choral Festival in London in 2001.
The choir is conducted by Dr. Mirza Askerov, who has been described as ‘energetic and temperamental’, certainly his work over the past decade as the choir’s artistic director has elevated the ensemble into an international phenomenon
The Gaudeamus Igitur repertoire consisted of 33 items, during most of which the choir sang heart-rendering religious and traditional cappella music. The choir impressed the audience with the sheer variety of choral music which it was able to produce; from: Oh Shenandoah, to the Polish: Piosenka jest dobra na wszyston, to the sorrowful Russian, V echerny Zvon, to a resounding Kalinka.”
The MGU choir is defi nitely well worth catching. A schedule of their performances can be found on: choir.msu.ru/