Since 1990, Thierry Wolf, the Parisian producer, devoted much of his energy towards modernizing Russian ensembles. He brought modernity to them and added his French creativity. He is well-known to have propelled the Red Army Choir into the 21st century by creating a brand, a logo and a graphic identity. More modern, more in touch with the public, the Red Army Choir focuses on what they do better than anyone. That is, sing and play music!
Their collaboration began in 1990. In 2003, they received their first Award in Europe for the success of a double album entitled “Great Classics”. Years later, Thierry Wolf had the brilliant idea of asking them to reinterpret the classic of the French electro group Daft Punk “Get Lucky”. This version was a major hit and opened the Winter Olympics in Sochi! The following year, he produced a Red Army Choir’s version of Pharell William’s hit “Happy” which was another great success.
Under his leadership, the Red Army Choir is taking on new colours. They conducted a European tour including 24 concerts in France to celebrate their 90th anniversary, then a Canadian tour in December 2019. We interviewed the legendary Thierry Wolf, here’s a snippet:
How did you become the producer of the Red Army Choir?
Our company had already produced many albums and videos of the famous Bolshoi Theater in Russia. Then my colleague, Willy Wenger, wished to produce an album of the Alexandrov Ensemble which had not recorded since long. We were at the dawn of 1990, and the political landscape in Russia had changed, giving way to private companies initiatives. This is how our French production company was able to license the music rights of this prestigious ensemble. Then produce original recordings. The first project we proposed to the Red Army Choir Ensemble, then directed by Victor Feodorov, met a huge success. From the beginning, our collaboration has been marked by success.
As for the Bolshoi, I did not want to stop with just recording music, and so we ventured into videos. Then finally we decided to bring back the Red Army Choir on stage since they hadn’t come to Europe in a while.
You are the head of FGL PRODUCTIONS which have produced several different artists, the polish ensemble Mazowsze, many rock bands, even classical music with the Bolshoi Theater. Why so much diversity?
I think that in life, a person who only reads philosophy books or cookbooks would miss out on many aspects of literature. It’s the same for music! Sometimes it’s easier to manage 100 artists of the Red Army than a young singing lady.
What can you bring to Russian artists?
The Russians have a solid formation. Whether it is the Bolshoi, regional artists or the Red Army Choir Ensemble, all these Russian artists have an incredible palette that is the result of an enormous amount of work. I have not yet met a choir that has this dimension. I have worked with many artists, but the Red Army Choir Ensemble is precision mechanics. However, the most beautiful piece of jewellery needs to be showcased. We bring our sense of design and our French touch into the Red Army Choir, and all the international artists we have been able to work with.
What about the USA or England?
We were scheduled to perform at the London Palladium in April 2019, but we ran out of time to finalize all the formalities necessary to perform in the UK. But it’s one of my goals to bring the Red Army Choirs back to England where the public always greets them with great fervour. The same for the USA from where we receive many messages of friendship. Music allows a real dialogue between peoples. It’s the best way to make people understand each other despite the different cultures. And above all, when soldiers sing, the children can sleep in peace!