Vladimir Gorbik and the Capital Symphony Orchestra: A Man with a Mission

"Convinced by his experience that at the level of ordinary communication between ordinary Americans and Russians there is an interest in collaborative musical cooperation, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik believes this to be absolutely necessary in developing creative and creative interaction in difficult times in history.”

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 It is a blustery winter mix of rain and snow on Orthodox Nativity weekend in the capital of Russia on the night of January 6th, 2018. The real onset of cold and winter in Moscow is just beyond the calendar’s visible horizon, but clearly enroute. Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, globally known as a conductor of both symphonic and sacred music, will shortly be making his journey to the Nativity All Night Vigil which will commence promptly at 11 p.m., and continue in uninterrupted fashion until 5 a.m. on Sunday, January 7th. Despite the significance of this most Holy Night, Mr. Gorbik makes time for a brief conversation with a Western journalistic source who has recently discovered him and his vision for the future. The two of us have 40 minutes before the beginning of the All Night Vigil to cover this vision in what is termed the “Gold Hour,” in the Maestro’s office on the grounds of the storied Moscow Representation of the Holy Trinity St.- Sergius Lavra.

The Moscow Representation of the Holy Trinity St.-Sergius Lavra

The fabled Gorbik is indeed a Man with a Resume.  The newly founded Capital Symphony Orchestra recites the overwhelming litany of professional achievements and global accolades of its conductor for an English language audience only now becoming more aware of his presence in American, European, and UK concert venues.  It clearly covers the territory as it tells the reader in the West the salient details of his life:

     “Vladimir Aleksandrovich Gorbik is the founder, music director and chief conductor of the Capital Symphony Orchestra.

     “Gorbik was born in 1970 in Moscow. During his childhood he played the violin and the cello. In 1986 he graduated from Piano class in music school. From 1988 to 1990 Gorbik studied with and performed in the Orchestra of the Military Institute of Physical Culture in Saint Petersburg, where he played the trumpet, the alto horn, and different percussion instruments.

     “He was educated in conducting at the Academic Music College at the P. I. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, graduating in 1993, under the direction of conducting teacher Yuriy Vladimirovich Bibin.

Vladimir Gorbik in Tashkent in February 2017, leading his Master Class of Orchestral Conducting with the National Symphony of Uzbekistan, and conducting students from Tashkent and Moscow.

     “In 1995, Vladimir Gorbik worked as a guest conductor for the Symphony Orchestra of the Opera Theatre at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1997, he was a guest conductor at the Symphony Orchestra of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Later in 2000, Gorbik served as guest conductor for the Smolensk Glinka Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

    “In the year 2000, he graduated from the Department of Orchestral and Choral Conducting of the Moscow State Conservatory under the tutelage of Professor Boris Tevlin and Professor Igor Dronov.

Maestro Gorbik after his Orchestral Master Class for students and conductors of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan accompanied by the “Soloists of Uzbekistan” Chamber Orchestra.  Tashkent, November 2016.

     “In 2004 he served as Music Director and Chief Conductor of Prayer at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in the Moscow Kremlin.

     “In 2008 he served again in the same post for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s inauguration, also in the Moscow Kremlin.

The Capital Symphony Orchestra and PaTRAM Maestro on ice skates with his children in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park.

     “During his professional life Gorbik has performed multiple concerts in various venues around Moscow: The State Kremlin Palace Concert Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and at the Moscow International House of Music. As a guest conductor Vladimir Gorbik has toured in the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Greece, Poland, and in many locations around Russia.

     “He has led many Conducting Master Classes in New York, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey and Florida; in Toronto, Canada; Sydney, Australia; and in different regions of his Motherland as well.

     “He currently serves as a conducting teacher in the Symphony, Operatic and Choral Conducting Department at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

The Maestro of the Capital Symphony Orchestra has also been described as “arguably the greatest living conductor of Russian church music.”

     “He is also presently a guest conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, as well as the Chamber Symphony Orchestra ‘Soloists of Uzbekistan’, also located in Tashkent.

September 15, 2016. Maestro Vladimir Gorbik’s Master Class for Orchestral Conductors in Professor 

Neil McEwan’s classroom at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

     “In March 2017, Vladimir Gorbik founded the Capital Symphony Orchestra. In May he made the first professional recording of the orchestra with the renowned Russian sound engineer Pavel Lavrenenkov in the State House of Radio and Sound Recording.

Summer 2017. The Gorbik family at Disney World in Orlando.

Vladimir Gorbik in an ice skating solo under the watchful eye of his children in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park.

     “On May 27, 2017, the newly formed collective performed for the first time on the stage of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. The Russian and foreign press immediately reacted to the creation of a new Moscow team. Journalists from Central Asia, Europe, and America are interested in the project and write their reviews. In September 2017, the Chamber orchestra was presented on the basis of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, within which another recording was made by the famous Russian sound engineer of the Bolshoi Theater, Andrei Semenov. Maestro Vladimir Gorbik has repeatedly performed with concerts and master classes in Russia, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Germany, Poland, Greece, and Uzbekistan. He cooperates with the American sound recording company Sound Mirror, a multiple winner of Grammy awards. The publishing company Reference Recordings (USA) is preparing to release his new CD entitled “Teach Me Thy Statutes in 2018. Concert experience helps the head of the collective to introduce and launch a new orchestra into the international musical orbit. Currently, a branch of the Capital Symphony Orchestra is being created in New York, which will include American performers. In February 2018, the presentation of this project will be unveiled. It will be held at the Concert Hall of Adelphi University (USA), where an audio recording and a video clip will be recorded. There are negotiations for concerts of the Capital Symphony Orchestra in Texas. Convinced by his experience that at the level of ordinary communication between ordinary Americans and Russians there is an interest in collaborative musical cooperation, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik believes this to be absolutely necessary in developing creative and creative interaction in difficult times in history.”

The Adelphi University Performing Arts Center is home to five state-of-the-art venues: The Concert Hall, The Recital Hall, the Olmsted Theatre, the Dance Theatre and a Black Box Theatre.

     What more can there possibly be to discuss with Vladimir Gorbik before his departure for the Nativity All Night Vigil and 6 consecutive hours of intensive worship of the Savior of the World?

September 15, 2016. Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Maestro Vladimir Gorbik with his conducting student Anastasia Pahos during his Master Class for Student Conductors. 

     The Maestro smiles at the question.  As he responds, the eye contact he maintains with the interviewer reflects the legendary combination of duty, discipline, love, compassion, constant motivation, and razor-sharp mind mentioned constantly by professional colleagues and friends the world over.

Vladimir Gorbik with American sacred musician Benedict Rowan Sheehan and the Sheehan family of 7 girls.  South Canaan, Pennsylvania.

Vladimir Gorbik with American sacred musician Benedict Rowan Sheehan’s family. South Canaan, Pennsylvania.

This conversation isn’t about me or about my resume,” he begins.  “It’s about mission and Christian servanthood to other people both here in Russia and around the world.  I cannot emphasize this enough. If I become the focus and the exclusive center of attention, I’ve already failed in my quest.”

Vladimir Gorbik: A Director With a Mission Divinely Directed by the Holy Trinity.

     The interviewer blinks.  He has never heard a globally acclaimed musical and artistic icon speak in these terms before.  Where in the world is this conversation headed?

Vladimir and Svetlana Gorbik with 9 children.  A 10th, little Volodya Gorbik, is being carried by Svetlana as everyone eagerly awaits the new arrival.

     Vladimir Gorbik’s steely-eyed focus, the focus known by every musician and student driven by him to new heights of excellence and precision, now focus intently on his guest seated directly across from him in front of his office desk.  It is impossible to be in his presence without a sense that he is no longer the Man with a Resume. He is instantly transformed into the Man With a Mission.

Maestro Gorbik in his office on the grounds of the Moscow Representation of the Holy Trinity St.-Sergius Lavra with American Sacred Music artist and student Benedict Sheehan.

     “I want your English-speaking readers to understand what I have emphasized all of my adult life to my orchestral musicians, my sacred music voices, my own countrymen and countrywomen, my fellow brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church, and my own wife and kids.  All special gifts and attributes that any of us possess as individuals need to make us grateful to the Holy Trinity of God each day and night of our earthly lives.  We must express our gratitude to the Lord by using the gifts He has granted us in any walk of life to serve His Kingdom, and the people we encounter everyday as we serve.  I point to but two Biblical examples of this.  In Mark 10:45 we read the Lord Jesus Christ saying that ‘ . . . the Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.’  St. Paul warns in I Corinthians 13:1 that ‘ . . . if I have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.’  I do not want to be a noisy gong or a clanging symbol, either as a professional conductor of orchestras or sacred choirs, or as a human being outside of the will of the Son of God. I believe that God the Father directs me, and all believers, from above.  I believe that God the Son is with me and all His people as we seek Him and closer unification with Him.  I believe that God the Holy Spirit is within me and all His people, empowering us to accomplish that which we cannot otherwise do, regardless of who we are and how hard we work, unless He indwells us in greatest measure.  That’s my philosophy and my theology that undergirds my life in all that I seek to be as a musician, a Christian, a husband, and a father.”

Vladimir and Svetlana Gorbik:  A Love Story.  (Ancient Russian town of Suzdal)

     Can there possible be any further dimensions to this philosophy of life, or this man? The answer is clearly yes.  After a brief pause, during which Vladimir Gorbik maintains the concentration and the eye contact that have only intensified during his soliloquy on the meaning of life and mission, his countenance becomes somewhat solemn as he adds to the lesson for the reporter glued to his seat in front of the Maestro, present, listening, and writing furiously, “And I absolutely must tell you and anyone else who will read this that [as he raps the desk twice with his knuckles for emphasis] my mission and music ministry are energized by two related ideas.  First, I truly believe we are living in the final days of world history before the Lord Jesus Christ returns.  Whether I am conducting the Capital Symphony Orchestra or an Orthodox Choir in Sacred Music, it is my desire to make the most of my time as a Christian proclaiming the Gospel with my musical gifts and those I direct.  The second is this: The Gospel of Christ is a Gospel of Peace.  We hear much today about a deterioration in the relationship of Russia and the United States.  There is much rhetoric about wars and rumors of war.  No one would win in such a disaster, neither Russia, America, or the entire world.  We must find a different pathway and renewed dialogue and vision based on both love and mutual interest.  Other than my faith and my family, this is what I shall pursue for whatever time remains in my life.

     The clock sounds.  The Maestro bids me farewell as he stands to depart for the Nativity All Night Vigil at the Moscow Representation of the Holy Trinity St.-Sergius Lavra.  I thank him profusely for his time granted on this most significant day for his Orthodox Church both in Russia and around the world.  Of one thing there can be no doubt. The Man With a Mission is in full gear, full speed ahead.  One can only sense that his life and his musical genius have only begun, with many roads, miles, venues, and productions ahead.  His Motherland, his Church, and the World Beyond await with the greatest sense of anticipation.

     And so does the Capital Symphony Orchestra.

Vladimir Gorbik in restful contemplation while sailing in New York with the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty on the horizon.

Contact Information for Contributors, Media, and Concert Venues:

The Capital Symphony Orchestra:

E-mail: csorchestra@mail.ru

Phone number: +7(926)558-92-66

Mark Dankof Contact Information:

Yearbook of Experts  Profile/Washington, D. C. 

E-mail:  kramfoknad@hotmail.com 

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