Orchestras: Pursuing the U.S. Ideal

When the Boston Symphony made its triumphant debut in Moscow in 1956, Russian audiences were shocked to discover what the outside world had long acknowledged—that U.S. orchestras were the world's finest. Russian cultural circles began buzzing with talk of the "orchestra gap." One of the most outspoken critics was Kiril Kondrashin, then conductor with the Bolshoi opera, who bluntly declared that Russian orchestras had to shape up. Four years later, when Kondrashin was appointed conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic, he admitted that "the U.S. orchestra is the ideal I am working toward...

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