Russian National Orchestra
The Russian National Orchestra has been in demand throughout the music world ever since its 1990 Moscow premiere. Of the orchestra's 1996 debut at the BBC Proms in London, the Evening Standard wrote, "They played with such captivating beauty that the audience gave an involuntary sigh of pleasure." More recently, they were described as "a living symbol of the best in Russian art" (Miami Herald) and "as close to perfect as one could hope for" (Trinity Mirror).
The first Russian orchestra to perform at the Vatican and in Israel, the RNO maintains an active international tour schedule, appearing in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Guest artists performing with the RNO on tour include conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Nicola Luisotti, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, Carlo Ponti and Patrick Summers, and soloists Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Lang Lang, Pinchas Zukerman, Sir James Galway, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Steven Isserlis, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Simone Kermes and Renée Fleming, among many others. Popular with radio audiences worldwide, RNO concerts are regularly aired by National Public Radio in the United States and by the European Broadcasting Union.
Gramophone magazine called the first RNO CD (1991) "an awe-inspiring experience; should human beings be able to play like this?" and listed it as the best recording of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique in history. Since then, the orchestra has made more than 70 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and PentaTone Classics, distinguishing the RNO as the only Russian ensemble with long-standing relationships with these prestigious labels, as well as additional discs with many other record companies. Conductors represented in the RNO discography include Founder and Music Director Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Jurowski, Kent Nagano, Alexander Vedernikov and Paavo Berglund.
Maestro Carlo Ponti
is known for taking audiences of all ages on musical journeys of unique interpretive depth.
He has worked at the Conductor’s Institute in Connecticut under Harold Farberman, with Andrey Boreyko, Mehli Mehta and Zubin Mehta in Los Angeles, and furthered his musical studies in Austria at the Vienna Music Academy under Leopold Hager and Erwin Acel.
Maestro Ponti was awarded Italy’s Premio Galileo award in 2006 for exceptional musical achievement. In the United States, he was the recipient of the 2008 Artistic Achievement Award from the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and the 2009 Spirit of Hope Award from the Childhelp Foundation for his contributions to the development and advancement of young musical talent throughout the world. In 2011 he was co-recipient of the Lupa di Roma prize in Rome, and received the Premio Civitas 2014 award in Naples, Italy.
Ponti has been associate conductor of the Russian National Orchestra since 2000, served as music director and principal conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony from 2001 to 2012, and in 2013 founded the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra — an ensemble that emphasizes music’s educational value, which is currently performing its fourth concert season (2018-2019) in Los Angeles, California.
He has also appeared with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Valencia, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Coro e Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo, Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Orquesta Filarmonica de Malaga, Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, Orchestra della Repubblica di San Marino, Orchestra della Magna Grecia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, Samara Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus and Orchestra of the State Opera of Georgia, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Budapest Strings, Budapest Concert Orchestra, Alba Regia Symphony Orchestra, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Napa Valley Symphony, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Festival Orchestra NAPA, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Cape Town Youth Philharmonic, Taurida Symphony Orchestra, Pro Arte Orchestra and the UCLA Philharmonia.
International festival engagements include Festival d’Echternach, Festival Vancouver, Taichung Music Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bratislava Spring Music Festival, St. Petersburg Palaces Music Festival, Hungary's Royal Days Festival, Festival Internacional de Musica de Villena, Malaga's Julio Musical, Festival Napa Valley, Tuscan Sun Festival, and the Köln Musik Triennale.
Celebrated as “a brilliant debut” (Audio and Record), Ponti’s recording with the Russian National Orchestra of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on Pentatone Classics quickly garnered critical acclaim. A second album with the RNO featuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade was hailed as “superb” (All Music) and “a work in which every little instrumental timbre has a meaning all its own” (Audio Video Club of Atlanta).
Ponti’s work has been profiled on ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, Fox News, Leonard Lopate, Dennis Miller, Symphony Magazine and the Associated Press. His performances have also been featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today and America’s Music Festivals radio programs.