Ponomaryov VESNA Children’s Choir celebrated its 50th anniversary in March, 2015. The history of the Choir began long ago, in the North District of Moscow, in 1964, when, at the request of the local community, a student of a musical college, who had just finished his Army service, to organize a children’s choir. 31 March 1965 became the birthday of the choir. Aleksandr Ponomaryov understood that complete choir training was impossible without an all-around music education. In 1966 the group was reorganized into VESNA children’s choir studio and in addition to singing classes kids studied solfege, music literature, and the piano. It was then when the first important concert of the Choir took place, at the National Composers’ House.

The first VESNA Summer Camp was organized in 1967 and since then it has become a tradition for the children to spend three weeks every summer as a training retreat that allows them to acquaint themselves with the next year’s repertoire and get to know each other. The Choir Charter was drafted, formalized and made official by the children themselves in 1968. It described the duties and rules of behavior, and its clauses are still adhered to both on and off stage. VESNA gradually became an epitome of a self-organized entity with its own system of communication, work and lifestyle. In the same year the Choir went to its first tour, to Kharkov. In 1972 the studio became a music school with the student body of 200. The prestige of VESNA had already become so great that in 4 years the evening school was given the standing of a full-time, state budget-based organization.

It also acquired the status of an official choir school, that is, an organization where choir performance was understood to be the main objective yet where children also were to receive piano education and attend classes of theory and history of music. Since the mid-70-s Vesna has toured Russia extensively. The 10th anniversary of the choir was commemorated with the first recorded LP. It was then that the uninterrupted friendship and collaboration with the composer Efrem Podgaits began. He composed, specifically for VESNA, the cantata “How to draw a bird”, the concertos “Seasons”, “Missa veris”, “New York Mass” and other beautiful works. Many of these compositions have been performed abroad and honored with international awards. The 80-s were filled with hard work and artistic efforts. New music was introduced, new recordings made, new tours made. The trademark of VESNA has always been performance of large pieces of classical and modern music, such as A. Vivaldi “Gloria”, J. Haydn “Die sieben Worte” and “Heiligmesse”, G. Pergolesi «Stabat Mater», C. Monteverdi “Magnificat”, B. Britten “Missa brevis” and “Ceremony of carols” and many others.

The peak of VESNA touring and concert activity fell on the 1990-2000-s when the choir has performed an impressive range of music pieces, large and small, from the Renaissance pieces to modern avant garde, concerts with orchestra, organ, grand piano, a capella, secular and spiritual, by Russian and foreign composers. At prestigious international competitions VESNA has been getting the highest awards: Nantes (France) - 1991 - Second Prize Arezzo (Italy) - 1992 - First Prize and Grand Prix Debrecen (Hungary) - 1992 - First Prize Tolosa (Spain) - 1993 - Second Prize Nantes (France) - 1995 - First prize and prize of the public Tolosa (Spain) - 1999 - First Prize and Grand Prix In 2000 the choir was awarded the highest European choral accolade: Grand Prix Europe 2000 in Tolosa, Spain. VESNA’s competitors were only adult choirs of international renown. Under the directorship of Alexander Ponomaryov VESNA recorded 12 LP’s and 10 CD’s, gave over 100 concerts at Moscow Conservatory, toured over 50 cities in Russia and 12 countries in Europe in addition to Canada and Japan. Nowadays VESNA is one of the best children’s choirs in the world. VESNA is a Children’s Choir is well-known in Russia and abroad. The Choir has been awarded the most prestigious prizes at international competitions in Spain, Italy, France, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary and Belgium. The latest VESNA achievement is the Grand Prix at the 27th International Choir Competition in Debrecen (Hungary) in 2016 and the Grand Prix at the 12th International Choir Festival Silver Bells in Daugavpils (Latvia). In 2017 the Choir won the Great European Choral Award among all the choirs of all types including the adult ones - “Europe-2017 Grand Prix” in Tolosa.

The Choir has sung in the best concert halls in Moscow with many famous orchestras and conductors (V. Fedoseyev, M. Pletnyov, V. Minin, V.Ovchinnikov, A.Buzlov and others). VESNA has come a long way, with Aleksandr Ponomaryov transforming the tiny neighborhood children’s choir into an ensemble of superb quality and a unique school. Now his legacy lives on in the hands of his students and colleagues. Since 2013 the choir has carried the name of its creator. The undertaking of Alexander Ponomaryov is continued by his pupil, VESNA alumna, the current Director of the school, Nadezhda Averina.