The formation of Russkaya Cappella was proposed in August 2009 by a small group of experienced choral singers with a shared enthusiasm for the distinctive harmonies, resonances and rhythms of Russian choral music. The new choir became a reality when Stuart Campbell and Svetlana Zvereva, specialists in Russian music, agreed to serve as Joint Musical Directors.
Under their guidance and encouragement Russkaya Cappella has grown to be a chamber choir of some 35 singers plus several regular guests —a mixed group, not only male and female but also in age (from students to retirees), background, singing experience and country of origin, with a substantial minority of Russians and Russian-speakers, plus individuals from Australia, Hong Kong, Latvia, Norway and France (to name a few) —a truly cosmopolitan group. Members who can’t speak Russian sing from transliterated text (basically phonetic versions), but the choir also receives expert instruction on correct pronunciation from the Musical Director at the weekly rehearsals —so even the linguistically challenged quickly become competent.
Russkaya Cappella leads an active life. It has given concerts of its own in Glasgow —at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, St Andrew’s Metropolitan Cathedral, St Bride’s church, the University Concert Hall and the University Chapel, among others; in Edinburgh—at St Giles Cathedral, the National Museum of Scotland (in association with the Catherine the Great Exhibition) and St Cecilia’s Hall; and in Stirling at the Church of the Holy Rude and many other venues.
The ability and enthusiasm of the choir were greatly encouraged during its first year through working with Alexey Rudnevsky, Professor of Choral Conducting of the Moscow Conservatoire. During the last few years, the choir has also received the help and expertise of composer and Professor of Music, the composer Graham Hair, as well as organist, composer and choir conductor John Gormley.
The choir has collaborated twice with the Intercultural Music and Arts Project directed by the composer Dr Kimho Ip, and performed music written specially for it by Dr Ip in the multi-art-form event In Time. For the last few years, Russkaya Cappella has been working closely with the Scottish Voices – a female ensemble directed by Graham Hair. In 2019 Russcaya Cappella sang together with the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir.
For concerts and disc recordings, Russkaya Capella regularly invites the professional musicians (the singer Alexey Gusev, pianists Ivan Penev, Ann Robertson, organist Malcolm Sin, the McOpera Ensemble, the Aurea String Quartet, the Yang Guan Trio) and the guests-singers from another choirs.
Education and Patronage
Russkaya Cappella occasionally runs workshops, open to everyone. The choir is interested in musical collaborations and can be hired to sing at weddings and other functions.
The choir also performs in events organised by the Russian communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, such as the major Orthodox Church services at Christmas and Easter (on one occasion in Leeds), an annual reception to mark the Russian National Day arranged by the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, and seasonal celebrations at the Glasgow Russian School. Occasionally the choir is joined by young singers from the Singing Studio attached to the School, directed by Svetlana Zvereva. This connection provide a stream of young recruits for Russkaya Cappella.
Russkaya Cappella greatly values the interest and support provided by our Honorary Patrons:
Sir Angus Grossart
Tatiana Hine, OBE
James MacMillan, CBE
Andrey A. Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh
Professor Alexsey Rudnevsky
Lord Williams (Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams