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The history of the St Petersburg Capella Symphony Orchestra begins with ‘the instrumental classes’ created in 1834 to prepare soloists and musicians of different specialties for orchestra performance. It was under M. A. Balakirev and N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov that a symphony orchestra was organised from students of Capella’s ‘instrumental classes’. Rimsky-Korsakov taught the orchestra class at the Capella beginning in 1883. In 1902 the orchestra began regular “enlightenment” concerts, which were later termed “Orchestral Music News”. During these years the conductor’s podium was occupied by A. Nikish, G. Mahler, R. Strauss, A. Glazunov and others. In 1921 the Philharmonic was organised, and the orchestra came to operate under its authority. In 1991, after a long pause in its history, the Capella’s symphony orchestra was restored.

The orchestra has toured through France, Germany, England, Ireland, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Greece, Croatia, and the USA. The Capella Symphony Orchestra has been the principle orchestra for the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition (1992, 1996, 1999), the P. I. Tchaikovsky Youth Competition, and has participated in many international festivals.