‘The Tuvan National Orchestra (Тыва Национал Оркестр [Tuvan]; Тывинский Национальный Оркестр [Russian]) is a unique orchestra that uses traditional Tuvan instruments alongside classical Western instruments, traditional Russian instruments and Soviet-era “hybrid” instruments, reflecting the complex cultural history of the republic. The musicians also sing, and the majority of the Orchestra’s repertoire uses voices as well as instruments. Often featured is the ancient art of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Formed in 2003 as the Tuvan National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments, the orchestra was originally directed by Aldar Tamdyn. The orchestra is now led by Conductor and Artistic Director Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush, who not only conducts but also arranges the music for this rare combination of instruments and voices. The orchestra is quite versatile, at times sounding more western, at times more Tuvan. Its unique renditions of traditional Tuvan songs are especially popular in Tuva.
The Republic of Tuva (sometimes spelled Tyva) sits at the southern edge of Siberia, with Mongolia to its south. Over the centuries, Tuva has been part of Chinese and Mongolian empires, and shares many cultural ties with Mongolia. In 1944 it became part of the USSR, and is now a member of the Russian Federation.
The Tuvan National Orchestra has earned recognition throughout the Russian Federation. In 2005, just two years after its inception, it won one of the first prizes in the All-Russia Competition of Folk Orchestras and Ensembles, held in Saratov, Russia. The following year it competed in the newly configured All-Russia Competition of National Orchestras and Ensembles, held in Ulan-Ude (capital of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia), where it won the overall grand prize as well as a special prize for the most original program. It then performed in a two-day gala held in Moscow in 2008 to honor the regional winners.
Orchestra members include musicians known in the West for their throatsinging (members of the groups Chirgilchin, Tyva Kyzy, and Alash), Andrei Mongush (formerly of Huun-Huur-Tu), Ai-Xaan Oorzhak, Kang-Xuler Saaya, and Nikolai Damba, among others.
Dyrgen chugaa, Tyvan recitations, Tyvan National Orchestra and Guttural Singing Choir, MP3, 320 Kbps, 2 min 28 sec
Sygyt and khoomei, Tyvan National Orchestra and Guttural Singing Choir, MP3, 320 Kbps, fragment, 4 min 5 sec
Suzugleldig Bailak Tsurtum , Tyvan National Orchestra and Guttural Singing Choir, MP3, 320 Kbps, 2 min 29 sec