Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Russia

Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, also known as the Red Army Band is a military band unit of the Russian Armed Forces. It is a branch of the Military Band Service of the Armed Forces of Russia. The current head of the band is Colonel Sergey Durygin.[1]

Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Russia
Центральный военный оркестр Министерства обороны России
The Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Russia performing.jpg
ActiveOctober 1, 1927 – present
Country Soviet Union
BranchFlag of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.svg Ministry of Defense
TypeMilitary Band
Size227 musicians
Nickname(s)Red Army Band
Director of Music/ConductorColonel Sergey Durygin
Drum MajorMajor Andrey Nisenbaum
BandmasterLieutenant Colonel Konstantin Petrovich

Brief historyEdit

The band marching on Prince Alexander of Battenberg Square during the Bulgarian Armed Forces Day parade in 2009.

Even as the Presidential Band of the Russian Federation is the more senior military band of Russia (as it reports to the Federal Protective Service as part of the Kremlin Regiment), the CMB-MDR is the seniormost band in the Russian Armed Forces and the oldest active band in service, having been founded on October 1, 1927. It was founded as part of the overall changes in the organization of military bands of the then Soviet Armed Forces, given the lack of a full-time band that would serve as the official band of the entire armed forces proper. It was formed inside the Moscow Central House of Officers of the Red Army (now the Central House of Officers of the Russian Army). It was then known as the Central Military Band of the People's Commissariat of Defense. After the reform of the military in the latter half of the 1940s, the name of the band was changed to the Independent Exemplary Band of the Ministry of Defense (Russian: Отдельном показательном оркестре Министерства обороны СССР, ОПОМО).


The band consists of 227 musicians that come from all walks of life: civilians, contract soldiers, and conscript musicians serving their military service term.[2] The band itself is divided into two sections: a brass band and a symphonic band.[3]

Activities and CollaborationsEdit

The band in their ceremonial uniform during the 2014 Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival and Tattoo.

The band participates in social, and cultural events of Russia. It is a permanent participant in the Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival and Tattoo. The band regularly performs in the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Spasskaya Tower Festival, and parades on Red Square.[1] The central band actively tours the globe, and has made appearances in Algeria,[4] Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Italy, China, North Korea, Mongolia, Norway (Norwegian Military Tattoo 2002), Poland, the U.S., France, Switzerland, and Sweden.[5][6] Among the individuals who have been associated with the band include former Canadian Army director of music Kenneth Snoeck[7] and American performer Michael Jackson.[8] It also collaborates extensively with the Moscow & District Pipe Band.[9] The Central Band is required to take part in the Russian Honor Parade on Red Square on November 7. During the Hamina Tattoo in Finland in 2018, the band performed with the Band of the Royal Marines of Britain's Royal Navy where they performed songs such as Moscow Nights and Katyusha.[10] In February 2020, the Central Military Band staged a concert to honor the 77th anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad in the Volgograd Philarmonia.[11]

Wartime activityEdit

By the time the Great Patriotic War began, the band was in the Belarusian SSR where it was staging a series of concerts in the Minsk Military District. Where the band performed at the Narev river, one side saw the band's performance while the other saw the German Wehrmacht preparing for Operation Barbarossa. The following day the war broke out. On 25 June 1941, the band returned to Moscow, three days after the start of hostiities.[12] In September 1941, twenty-eight musicians from the band received an order to go to the Western Front. A month later, the band got surrounded by the German 3rd Panzer Army and 4th Panzer Army near the city of Vyazma during the Battle of Bryansk. Although receiving the orders to break through the enemy circle and withdraw, the transport vehicle that was meant to do so was caught in the crossfire of multiple units. Nine musicians died immediately, ten going missing.[13] Despite this setback, the band never ceased to perform over the course of the war, staging over 500 concerts and making 150 appearances on the All-Union radio. Among its activities were the ceremonies of awarding units their colors and state honors.[14]

Directors of MusicEdit

The band under the direction of Colonel Sergey Durygin during its 90th anniversary concert in 2017.

Senior Director of MusicEdit

Historically, since 1924, the Senior Director of Music of the Armed Forces has been the ceremonial chief of the band. In the Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival and Tattoo editions of 2007, 2009 and 2010 the Central Band's Bandmaster, then Col Andrey Kolotushkin, served as the band conductor. Today, the director of music does not hold the post of Senior Director of Music of the Military Band Service in a concurrent capacity, as that post leads the overall direction and organization of all the active bands in the armed services.


  • B. Miller (?)
  • P. Zabezhansky (?)
  • N. Matukhnenko (?)
  • I. Mironovich (?-1951)
  • Nikolai Sergeev (1951-1977)[18]
  • A. Maltsev (1977-1985)
  • Anatoly Mukhamedzhan (born Khamis Kharisovich) (1985-1994)[citation needed]
  • A. Pestov (1994-?)
  • V. Rusin (?-2003)
  • Colonel Andrey Kolotushkin (2003-2010)[19]
  • Colonel Sergey Durygin (2010–Present)


Notable membersEdit

  • Ivan Olenchik, clarinetist and pedagogue
  • Lev Mikhailov, clarinetist and saxophonist
  • Stepan Andrusenko, Russian composer
  • Igor Lavrov, pianist and professor residing in Venezuela
  • Rafael Bagdasaryan, Soviet-Armenian professor and musician


A recording of the band performing the Anthem of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b "Participants — [EN] Spasskaya bashnya". spasstower.ru. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  2. ^ Галилео. Военный оркестр, retrieved 2021-03-14
  3. ^ "Central Military Band of Russia Documentary Фильм о Военном Оркестре России". YouTube.
  4. ^ "Центральный военный оркестр Минобороны России отправился в Алжир : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации".
  5. ^ "Центральный военный оркестр Министерства обороны Российской Федерации". Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  6. ^ "Russian Military Band Plays At Pyongyang Music Ceremony". rferl.org. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  7. ^ "Kenneth Snoeck".
  8. ^ "Концерты Майкла Джексона в Москве". Мария Сергина (in Russian). 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  9. ^ http://www.pipeband.ru
  10. ^ "Центральный военный оркестр Минобороны России покорил сердца финских зрителей". 4 August 2018.
  11. ^ "The Central Military Band Will Stage a Big Concert in Honor of the Seventy-Seventh Anniversary of the Stalingrad Battle — [EN] Spasskaya bashnya".
  12. ^ "The Central Military Band on Tour at the Belarus Military District — [EN] Spasskaya bashnya".
  13. ^ "The Central Military Band Goes to the Western Front — [EN] Spasskaya bashnya".
  14. ^ "The Central Military Band of the Russian Ministry of Defense at the Great Patriotic War — [EN] Spasskaya bashnya".
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Военно-оркестровая служба Вооруженных Сил Российской Федерации : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации". structure.mil.ru. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
  16. ^ Аксенов Е. С. 2005, p. 460.
  17. ^ Рунов Б. М. 1978, p. 275.
  18. ^ Музыкальная энциклопедия
  19. ^ https://mosoblfil.ru/o-filarmonii/rucovod/andrey-kolotushkin.html
  20. ^ "Центральный военный оркестр Министерства обороны Российской Федерации". 2 May 2011.
  21. ^ Старинные марши и вальсы. 2004. Первый Отдельный Показательный Оркестр Министерства Обороны РФ. Художественный руководитель Виктор Афанасьев. — Москва: «Международная Книга Музыка». — AudioCD