The orchestra was founded in 1937 and throughout the Soviet era performed regularly at home under such conductors as Aleksandr Gauk, Kirill Kondrashin, Nathan Rachlin, Yuri Temirkanov, Kurt Sanderling, Fuat Mansurov, Saulius Sondeckis, Arvid Jansons, Mariss Jansons, and with such eminent soloists as David Oistrakh, Emil Gilels, Mstislav Rostropovich, Viktor Tretiakov, Yuri Bashmet, Nikolai Petrov, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin and Evgeny Kissin. During the Soviet years, Odessa, a major center before the revolution, was relegated to the ranks of “regional” city. Unlike Moscow and St. Petersburg, in Odessa the orchestra was not allowed to travel outside the borders of the USSR.
With the independence of Ukraine in January of 1993 the Government of Ukraine formally awarded the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra federal status. The OPO is the only performing arts organization in Ukraine outside of Kyiv (Kiev) to attain this distinction. The new status was acknowledgment of the orchestra’s dynamic progress during the preceding two years under new music director Hobart Earle. The orchestra became the first from Ukraine to cross both the Atlantic Ocean and the Equator. In the years since 1992, the orchestra and Hobart Earle have made a total of twenty one trips abroad to fifteen different countries, performing in such major concert halls as the Musikverein in Vienna, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, the Barbican Hall in London, the National
Auditorium in Madrid, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Davies Hall in San Francisco and the General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition to their regular concerts at home in Odessa, the orchestra and Hobart Earle have traveled to other Ukrainian cities in addition to making a total of fourteen trips to perform in Kyiv.
Today, the local audience in Odessa takes pride in the orchestra’s achievements and fill the concert hall regularly. The OPOs series of CD recordings “Music of Ukraine” under Hobart Earle for British record label ASV features previously unrecorded works by Ukrainian composers. The performance of Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony in Vienna’s Musikverein in 2001 was recorded by the Austrian Radio live in concert, and awarded “Best Classical Album 2002” at the "JPFolks Music Awards" in Hollywood, California.
In June 2002, the orchestra’s status was raised again, when the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, signed a decree granting National status to the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra thus becomes the first organization in the performing arts in Ukraine outside of the nation’s capital, Kyiv, to acquire national status. It is also the only performing arts organization in the entire country to go from regional status to national status since the independence of Ukraine in 1991.
Hobart Earle - Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, People's Artist of Ukraine.
Born in Venezuela of American parents, Hobart Earle has developed a reputation on several continents as a dynamic and exciting conductor.
Hobart Earle has elevated the orchestra to a position of international prominence, unprecedented in the history of the organization, performing in such concert halls as the Musikverein (Vienna), Barbican Hall (London), Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Carnegie Hall (New York) and the Kennedy Center (Washington). He has led such orchestras as the Bilbao Symphony, Vienna Tonkuenstler, Noord-Nederlands Orkest in Holland, Odense Symfoniorkester in Denmark, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonica Siciliana and Orchestra della Toscana, Sinfonia Iuventus in Warsaw and Krakow Philharmonic, Buffalo and Florida Philharmonics, North Carolina and Miami Symphony Orchestras, Taipei Symphony and such major Russian institutions as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Russian National Orchestra.
In the opera pit, he has led productions with the Greek National Opera and Mythos Opera Festival, and has recorded with the Russian State Symphony and Odessa Philharmonic for Naxos and Toccata Records.
His performance of Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony in Vienna’s Musikverein was recorded by the Austrian Radio live in concert, and awarded “Best Classical Album 2002” at the ‘JPFolks Music Awards’ in Hollywood, California.
He was a student of Ferdinand Leitner in Salzburg and Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood. Hobart Earle studied conducting at the Academy of Music in Vienna; received a performer’s diploma in clarinet from Trinity College of Music, London; and is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he studied composition with Milton Babbitt, Edward Cone, Paul Lansky and Claudio Spies.
In 2003, the Russian Cosmonaut Association named a star in the ‘Perseus’ constellation as ‘Hobart Earle’, and in 2014, Hobart Earle was recognized as one of 30 “Professionals of the Year” by Musical America Worldwide.