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Chechnya Unveils State Symphony Orchestra

The Chechen State Symphony disbanded in the mid-1990s as the territory descended into full-scale war. (file photo)
GROZNY, Russia -- The new Chechen State Symphony Orchestra has performed its first concert in Grozny after an absence of some 15 years, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Led by Russian conductor Valery Khlebnikov, the program on September 11 was comprised of works by Bach, Brahms, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Chechen composer Umar Beksultanov.

The concert was held in Grozny's drama theater under the auspices of the Chechen Culture Ministry. Security measures were tight, as a suicide bomb attack near the parliament building on August 30 killed nine people.

Chechnya's Symphony Orchestra was established during Soviet times. It became defunct in the mid-1990s as the territory descended into a full-scale war with federal authorities in Moscow.

In recent years, Russia has poured large amounts of money into Chechnya to rebuild Grozny, which was completely destroyed during the war.

The Moscow-backed authorities in Grozny are presenting the reestablishment of the symphony as a sign of stability in the restive Russian republic.