Confirmed: Red Army Ensemble has perished in Black Sea air crash

Confirmed: Red Army Ensemble has perished in Black Sea air crash


norman lebrecht

December 25, 2016

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman of the Russian defence ministry, has told Reuters in the past hour that none of the 92 people on a Syria-bound plane has survived the crash into the Black Sea.

Passengers on the military plane included 62 singers, instrumentalists and dancers of the Alexandrov Ensemble, formerly the Red Army Ensemble, Russia’s most celebrated performing troupe.

This is a musical catastrophe without parallel. A tremendous ensemble has been destroyed in an instant.

UPDATE: Putin ordered the ensemble to play in Aleppo.

UPDATE2: A Moscow music school mourns its sons.





  • Alexander says:

    A musical tragedy without parallel and a human tragedy sadly with all too many parallels. We must hope that the ensemble will be able to be rebuilt over the coming months and years, but the greater tragedy is suffered by thousands of people in Russia and beyond who will have lost people forever in this terrible disaster.

  • Alexander says:

    Some reports are claiming 64 members of the ensemble are dead. I assume (and hope) that the total number of losses cannot increase, if the correct number of passengers and crew was known with certainty, but the exact role of those lost may become clearer in the coming days.

  • Bob says:

    My condolences to our musical comrades. They were the ‘best of best’ of Soldier musicians.

  • Fr Stephen Duncan says:

    Memory eternal, light oeroetual

  • Bill Hollin says:

    Parallel….We lost the US Navy Orchestra in a mid-air collision over Rio in 1960. It was never reconstituted. The band continued, but the string component was lost forever.

  • Peter Roos says:

    Absolutely terrible — a huge blow to the music community. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends and the people of Russia.

  • Donna M says:

    Dreadful. Prayers for their souls and for the bereaved. A terrible loss of humanity and talent.

  • John Mason says:

    One of the most thrilling and musical ensembles ever.

  • E. Daryl Duff says:

    It grieves me to read about this tragedy. We lost the U.S. Navy Orchestra in an air plane crash in 1960.
    My heart and prayers go out to their families and friends.
    May God be with them in their time of loss and morning

  • Amethyst says:

    Tragic. There are so many things wrong with this. So many…. :'(

  • Lawrence says:

    I am speechless.

  • Stanley Cohen says:

    As singers they were the best of the best – incomparable. They were condemned however by being employed as a propaganda tool by Mr Putin who will forever bear the blame for their untimely and unnecessary deaths.

    • Brian Wills says:

      And who might be the ‘shooter’ that made the decision they should die to prevent their entertainment, very dark cloud that only the shadow governance would find cover, cowards!

  • Mel Hubbard Leicestershire says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. These were the best of the best who will be sadly missed not just by their loved ones but people worldwide like me who appreciated their expertise in music. RIP

  • Victoria Ortiz says:

    Another tragedy similar to the Brazilians football player in Colombia. Across the Atlantic we embrace their families to give them strength to be able to cope with such tragedy

  • Greg MacDonald says:

    As a retired US Navy Band musician I can appreciate the loss of these outstanding musicians. May they rest in peace and their families be comforted.

  • Ken Duke says:

    RIP to all their family’s

  • wing says:

    This is very sad. There was a piece in the last Economist about airline safety ratings, which are awarded by some watchdog group on a five star scale, and I believe it said that the group deducted an entire star if a company’s fleet included Russian-made planes. They are THAT prone to failure and disaster.

    I am appalled that the author chooses to identify the group by a long outdated moniker, and in the headline no less. Evidently standards do not apply here.

  • Jennifer says:

    Tragedy and loss is always senseless. Condolences to those who are left behind grieving.

  • Judith Robinson says:

    Music like smiles is a universal language. Sincerest condolences regarding your loss. May God give you all comfort in your bereavement!