The name of the oboist and conductor Alexey Utkin is now well known both in Russia and abroad. His great natural talent was developed by the brilliant musical education he has received in the Moscow Conservatory. Later he has got a wonderful experience as a member of the chamber orchestra The Moscow Virtuosi headed Vladimir Spivakov. All this made him very soon a notable figure in the modern Russian musical life. It was Utkin’s historical breakthrough which introduced oboe as a solo instrument on the world stage. In critics’ opinion he «transformed oboe, an instrument of the background, into the hero of wonderful events».
Having courageously started to perform all solo compositions created for oboe, he began expanding the range of the instrument and its’ potentialities at the expense of the special arrangements for oboe. The performance of compositions by Antonio Pasculli became the bright example of Utkin’s musical virtuosity. Today the compositions by Bach, Haydn, Vivaldi, Mozart, Richard Strauss, Shostakovitch and Britten are all in the musician’s repertoire. Performing original works for the oboe, Alexey Utkin also expanded the range and potentialities of the instrument thanks to special arrangements for the instrument and today his repertoire as a soloist comprises numerous compositions from Bach and Vivaldi to Britten and Penderecki.
The concerts with Alexey Utkin all over the world took place in the most prestigious concert halls: Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Concertgebouw, Academia Santa Cecilia, Champs Elysees Theatre, Palau de la Musica (Barcelona), Auditorio Nacionale (Madrid), Hercules-Saal (Munich), Beethovenhalle (Bonn), where he is frequently invited to perform with most famous ensembles.
Many of his solo programs won attention of recording companies, RCA-BMG (Classics Red Label) is one of them. Concerts by Bach for oboe and oboe d’amour, works by Rossini, Pasculli, Vivaldi, Salieri, and also compositions by Penderecki are among the recordings.
As a soloist Alexey Utkin performed with such famous musicians as Vladimir Spivakov, Yury Bashmet, Natalia Gutman, Eliso Virsaladze, Alexander Rudin, Nikolai Petrov, Valery Popov, Dmitry Khvorostovsky, Elena Obraztsova and many other stars of the classical stage, he also cooperated with famous drama actors – Alexander Filippenko, Mikhail Kozakov, Alexander Sokolov.
Alexey Utkin’s experiments with famous jazz musicians Igor Butman, Valery Grokhovsky, Mikhail and Andrey Ivanov and performers of ethnic music are of great interest.
On the peak of his solo career, Alexey Utkin also established his reputation as a talented conductor and inventive musician whose projects thanks to his musical broadmindedness are extremely interesting both for the philharmonic audience and for the fans of the alternative trends of music and theatre.
In the early 90s, Aleksey Utkin still continuing his work with the «Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra», successfully attempted to start his independent career, that in 2000 led to the creation of the ensemble «Hermitage», together with which he played numerous concerts and recorded 10 CDs with various programs, made by Caro Mitis.
In 2010 Aleksey Utkin was made the Creative Director and Chief Conductor of the State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia. The best musicians of the ensemble «Hermitage» became members of the SACO of Russia. Preserving the traditions of the orchestra, established by its founder Rudolf Barshai, Utkin sees himself not only as a creative director and a conductor, but also as a soloist and an inspiring leader.
Aleksey Utkin combines his work in the State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia with an active teaching practice. He is a professor at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory.
His work as the new leader of this orchestra began with widening the stylistic and genre range of the compositions performed by the musicians. In their concerts the orchestra combines Bach’s Passions, Masses by Haydn and Vivaldi, symphonies and concertos by Mozart and Boccherini, compositions on themes of the rock-band Led Zeppelin, music in ethno-styles, and movies’ soundtracks. Aleksey Utkin continues to make famous music arrangements for the oboe. Among his works are the very successful T. Albinoni’s Adagio for oboe and orchestra and M. Bruch’s Kol Nidrei.
New ideas and creative searches by Aleksey Utkin have been reflected in the series of concerts during recent years such as: “East West Fantasy» which features the music of H. Purcell, Mahavishnu, Clark, McKadnles for chamber orchestra, electric guitar, bass guitar, indian reed flute, and drums; in working with a young composer Andrey Rubtsov, which led to the creation of the «Festival Divertimento-Fairy Tail» in 10 parts for chamber orchestra, children choir, electric guitar, and drums. His friendship with an actor Alexander Philippenko led to an impulse to make a program «Reflection in the water» (Concert for dramatic actor, soloist and chamber orchestra), based on «Krohotki» by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and Preludes by Dmitrii Shostakovich.
In the season 2016-2017 Aleksei Utkin is creating new concert programs, where different epochs, styles, and tendencies are boldly combined. One of them is “From Baroque to jazz-rock”, performed during the last season in Moscow.
In 2011 and 2015, the orchestra, under the leadership of A. Utkin, accompanied the participants of the second round of the XIV and XV International Tchaikovsky Competitions (piano section).
During recent years, Aleksei Utkin has performed concerts in different corners of Russia – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.
In 2016 Aleksei Utkin was awarded the Moscow Award in Literature and the Arts in the category of “Musical Art” for his contribution to the development of Russian music and the popularization of classical music at concert platforms in Moscow.
For the 2016-2017 season the State Chamber Orchestra of Russia, besides performing traditional concerts in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Great Conservatory Hall, the “Philharmonic-2” Hall, the Chamber Philharmonic Hall, and the Gnesin Concert Hall, will take part in a series of concerts entitled “Stars of World Opera in Moscow”, and the Russian premiere of the opera “Teseo” by G.F. Handel.
The orchestra will again present several original concert programs: “From Bach to Beatles”, where works of Bach “meet” works of Gershwin, Penderecki, and V. Grokhovski (“Philharmonic-2” Hall); and a concert with A. Mustonen including works of Pärt, Schubert, Mozart, and G. Kancheli (Tchaikovsky Concert Hall).
Currently, Aleksei Utkin continues his work on concert programs for the seasons to come.