About St.Petersburg Chamber Orchestra Divertissement

 “…The ensemble reaches remarkable results. Especially admirable is subtlest, as if engraved, elaboration of details. What Ilya Ioff and the “Divertissement” do is just breathtaking.” – Hans Winking, WDR, Köln

The St.Petersburg Chamber Orchestra “Divertissement” was established in 1990 at the initiative of St.Petersburg Conservatory Professor Yelena Komarova with the support of her students. A shared musical education and loyalty to St.Petersburg’s chamber music traditions enabled the orchestra to create a well-recognized name from the very beginning of its existence, first in its hometown and very soon outside its borders.

Since 1998 the orchestra is led by the Honored Artist of Russia violinist Ilya Ioff. A “quartet-like” flexibility quickly enabled a noticeable expansion of the repertoire and the ensemble has since developed a vast repertoire ranging from works of the Baroque era to Romantic and Modern masterpieces.

Performing the masterpieces of Russian composers is essential to the musicians of the orchestra. It’s impossible to imagine orchestra’s existence without compositions by P. Tchaikovsky, A. Arensky, I. Stravinsky, D. Shostakovich, S. Prokofiev and A. Schnittke. The “Divertissement” orchestra successfully collaborates with modern Russian composers such as Petrov, Slonimsky, Desyatnikov, Korchmar, and Tischenko. These composers not only entrust their music to the musicians of the St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, but also often compose music especially for the orchestra.

Not limiting themselves to Russian music, the ensemble has also become known for their virtuosity in performing Western European music of various epochs – from Vivaldi and J.S. Bach to today’s experimental music.

The St.Petersburg Chamber Orchestra “Divertissement” tours in Russia, the Baltic Countries, Europe, the United States, and Japan. The orchestra has recorded several CDs (featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg, Schnittke, Petrov, and Shostakovich), and appeared on several radio and TV shows. The orchestra has collaborated with such eminent musicians as Julian Milkis, Giya Kancheli, Natalia Gutman and Grigory Sokolov.

Ilya Ioff – Artistic Director and Soloist

Already in his school days, Ilya Ioff attracted the attention of the audience in his home town, St. Petersburg. His warm and rich sound, masterful handling of the instrument, and mature interpretations unusual for a child were noticed by both the public and professors of the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Upon finishing his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1984-1990) he emerged as a mature musician and virtuoso violinist. During his postgraduate studies with Professor V. Ovcharek he also earned the reputation of a talented teacher.

As soloist and ensemble musician, Ilya has performed with such remarkable artists as M. Argerich, M. Yansons, Y. Temirkanov, S. Stadler, and A. Rudin. Among his awards are the Special Prize at the ARD Competition in Munich, Germany and the First Prize at the G. Viotti Competition in Vercelli, Italy. His unique personality and instrumental style not only endear Ilya Ioff’s interpretations to the audience, but also make him an attractive performer in the eyes of contemporary composers. Noted Russian composers B. Tischenko, S. Slonimsky, G. Korchmar, and L. Desyatnikov have often entrusted the premiers of their new compositions to Ilya Ioff.

Ilya Ioff has recorded several compact disks as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra leader. These include Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1; Sonatas by Mozart, Tartini and Brahms; Trios by Schubert and Tchaikovsky; Chamber music of Dvorak, Brahms, Arensky and Borodin, and Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1.

The very first season of Ilya’s work as Artistic Director of the St Petersburg Chamber Orchestra “Divertissement”  proved his natural gift in this role. His careful nurturing of the ensemble’s traditions developed in previous years by Professor E. Komarova (former Artistic Director) helped establish an absolutely individual sound and the ensemble has won well-deserved success with Russian, European, and American audiences.

Aside from Ilya Ioff’s performing activities, he is on the faculty at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 2002, Ilya Ioff was awarded the high title of Honored Artist of Russia.

Watch some of Orchestra’s performances

Additional information


Russian Music

Arensky – Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky – Serenade for String Orchestra

Tchaikovsky – Souvenir de Florence

Tchaikovsky – The Seasons (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Prokofiev – 4 Pieces. Op. 4  (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Prokofiev – Sarcasms (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Prokofiev – Toccata (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition  (arr. by I. Ioff)

Mussorgsky – The Nursery. Song cycle. (arr. by I. Ioff)

Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain. (arr. by I. Ioff)

Shostakovich – 24 Preludes (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Shostakovich – 12 Preludes and Fugues (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Shostakovich – Quartet #8 (arr. by R. Barshai) 

Shostakovich – Sonata for Viola and String Orchestra ( arr. by I. Ioff)

Shostakovich -Symphony #14

Stravinsky – Apollon Musagete. Ballet music

Stravinsky – Concert in D “Basel”

Slonimsky – Concerto Primaverile for violin and string orchestra 

Petrov – The Creation of the World, Ballet Suite (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Schnittke – Concerto Grosso #1 & #3

Schnittke – Sonata No. 1 for violin and string orchestra 

Schnittke – Moz-Art a la Haydn for string orchestra

Schnittke – Monologue for Viola and string orchestra 

Schnittke – Suite in the Old Style (arr. by G.Korchmar)

Karmanov Green DNK

Martynov The Well-Tempered Beauty for 2 violins and string orchestra

Khrushcheva Slowly and Wrong, for string orchestra

Desyatnikov The Russian Seasons, for violin, soprano and string orchestra 

European music

J.S. Bach  – Violin concerto

J.S. Bach  – Concerto for 2 Violins

J.S. Bach  – Concerto for 3 Violins

J.S. Bach  – Brandenburg Concertos No. 3, 5 and 6

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons

Vivaldi – Violin concerto

Vivaldi – Concerto for 2 Violins

Vivaldi – Concerto for 3 Violins

Vivaldi – Concerto for 4 Violins

Pachelbel   – The Canon and Gigue

Handel  – Concerti Grossi

J-P. Rameau – Concertos for String Orchestra

W.A. Mozart – Divertimenti in D, in B b in F

W.A. Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

W.A. Mozart Adagio and Fugue

Haydn – Violin concerto

Haydn – Cello concerto

Haydn – The Seven Last Words of Our Savior On the Cross

Schubert  – Arpeggione Sonata (arr. by I. Ioff)

Schubert  – Death and the Maiden (arr. by G. Mahler)

Schubert  – Rondo for Violin and string orchestra

Mendelssohn – String symphony #9

Mendelssohn – Concerto in D for violin and string orchestra

Mendelssohn – Concerto in D for violin, piano and string orchestra

Brahms – Fantasies op. 116 (arr.  by G. Korchmar)

Grieg – Holberg Suite 

Dvorak – Serenade 

Suk – Serenade

Fuchs – Serenade

Wolf – Italian Serenade

Elgar – Serenade

Holst – St. Paul’s Suite

Janacek – Suite for strings

Saint-Saëns – The carnival of the animals

Wagner – Prelude and Isolde’s death from “Tristan and Isolde” (arr. by G. Korchmar)

Mahler – Adagio from the 10th symphony (arr. by J. Stadlmayr)

Bartok – Divertimento

Bartok – Romanian dances

Bartok – Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Bloch  – Concerto Grosso

Ysaye – Harmonies du soir

Ravel  – Pavane

Britten – Simple symphony

Britten – Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

Britten – The Illuminations for soprano and string orchestra

Berg – Sonata op.1 (arr. by G. Korchmar)

Schoenberg  – Transfigured Night

Schoenberg  – Suite in the Old Style

Piazzolla  – The Four Seasons

Piazzolla  – Tango ballet (arr. by L. Desyatnikov)

Piazzolla  – Selected tango(s)

Keiko Fujiie – Seasons on poems by Li Po

Kreisler, Piazzolla, Anderson, Haydn, Sibelius – Showpieces for string orchestra


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