The Ural Philharmonic orchestra was founded in 1936. Composed of more than one hundred musicians, most of them graduates of the Ural state conservatory, it has established a reputation as one of the finest symphony orchestras in Russia. After decades spent behind the ‘iron curtain’ it became known all over the world in the 1990s. The foremost musicians from Russia and abroad have performed with it and have invariably commented on the astonishingly balanced sound of the orchestra, the harmony of its timbre over a broad range of expression, and its nobility of style in the concerto repertoire. The Ural Philharmonic orchestra is distinguished by its strong roots in tradition but also for its ability to assimilate new sound-worlds; these striking qualities are highly prized by soloists from around the world who have collaborated with the orchestra. its core repertoire comprises all the significant works of Russia and Eastern Europe, but also pieces by the major composers of the twentieth century. The Ural Philharmonic orchestra is undoubtedly the Russian orchestra with the highest level of expertise in contemporary music and plays a central role in the large-scale festival of classical and contemporary music held in Yekaterinburg each year. Over its seventy-year history many celebrated Russian soloists have appeared with the orchestra, including Heinrich Neuhaus, Emil Gilels, David Oistrakh and Svyatoslav Knuchevitsky; it has played under the direction of such conductors as Nikolay Golovanov, Nathan Rakhlin, Kurt Sanderling, Kirill Kondrashin, Dmitry Kitayenko, and Andrey Boreyko. In recent years it has also performed with such prestigious artists as Mikhail Pletnev, Natalia Gutman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Elisso Virsaladze, Lina Issakadze, Boris Berezovsky, Alexey Lubimov, Gidon kremer, Viktor Tretyakov, Yuri Bashmet, Andrey Gavrilov, Mark Drobinsky, Boris Belkin, and Vadim Repin. The Ural Philharmonic orchestra made its first tour to Chelyabinsk in 1945. Since then it has given concerts in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and Spain. in 1999 it appeared at the prestigious international contemporary music festival Music Biennale Zagreb and in 2005 participated in the Europalia Russia festival held in Belgium and the Festival de La Roque d’Anthéron in France. In 2007 the Ural Philharmonic orchestra took part in the ‘La Folle Journée’ festivals held in Nantes (France), Bilbao (Spain) and Tokyo (Japan), and in the World Symphony Orchestra Festival (second edition) held in Moscow. The orchestra has just been named ‘Best orchestra of the year’ in Russia.