The Bolshoi Theater Orchestra has a long and distinguished history dating back to its origins in 1776 as an ensemble of 13 musicians who accompanied singers in the first permanent theatrical troupe in Moscow.
The orchestra has taken part in the premieres of numerous ballets and operas that would later form the Russian canon, including those of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. The Bolshoi Theater Orchestra is now made up of some 200 players, most of whom trained at the Bolshoi Musical Academy. In addition to regular work in Moscow, the orchestra has performed in Japan, England, the United States, and Europe. The first-desk players of each section of the orchestra perform in the chamber group Ensemble of the Soloists of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra.