The orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater is one of the best symphony orchestras in the world. The glorious traditions of‘ its conductor‘ s school were founded by Nikolai Golovanov, Samuil Samosud, Ariy Pazovsky, Alexander Melik-Pashajev, Juri Fajer, Vassili Nebolsin, Boris Khaikin, Eugeni Svetlanov, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mark Ermler, Alexander Lazarev.
Bolshoi Theater Wind Orchestra was founded during World War I after the Wind Band of the Moscow garrison, which also served as the Stage Wind Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater was called to duty and sent to the front. The orchestra originally numbered 16 musicians but the number grew to over 40 brass, woodwind and percussion players. With this instrumentation, the ensemble is able to perform most of the major works for band.
The tradition of using wind players on stage goes back to staging Glinka‘s Ruslan and Ludmila and Ivan Susanin (Life for the Tsar) when members of the wind orchestra participated in the productions acting in full costume on stage. Later the orchestra was used on stage in such productions as Verdi‘s Aida, Shostakovich‘s Katerina Ismailova, Shchedrin‘s Anna Karenina, operas and ballets by Verestovsky, Serov, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky.
The Bolshoi Theater Wind Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Andropov made its first concert appearance in 1979 to great public and critical acclaim. The orchestra appears regularly on concert stages of Moscow and on tour.