The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1951, but did not adopt its current name until 1953. Its founder was veteran Bolshoi Opera conductor Samuel Samosud. The ensemble was initially established for broadcast performances of operatic music. But its mission quickly expanded in the early '50s, when it began playing much contemporary Russian music, as well as repertory standards.
In 1958 Kiril Kondrashin was appointed music director, and under his leadership the ensemble became one of the Soviet Union's finest and most prominent orchestras. Kondrashin used the MPO for the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, famously won (in the piano division) by American Van Cliburn. Simonov has led the orchestra on highly successful tours of the U.S., U.K., and throughout much of Europe. The MPO's 2006-2007 concert schedule included tours of Japan, Germany, and Croatia. Among the MPO's later recordings is the 2004 Naxos CD of the Tischenko Symphony No. 7, led by the orchestra's principal guest conductor, Dmitry Yablonsky.