Valery Khalilov

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Valery Khalilov
Валерий Халилов
Valery Khalilov, 2016.jpg
Native name Валерий Михайлович Халилов
Born Valeriy Mikhaylovich Khalilov
(1952-01-30)30 January 1952
Termiz, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union
(now Termez, Uzbekistan)
Died 25 December 2016(2016-12-25) (aged 64)
Black Sea near Sochi, Russia
Nationality Russian
Occupation Military conductor, composer
Title People's Artist of Russia (2014)
Military career
Rank Lieutenant general

Valery Mikhaylovich Khalilov (Russian: Валерий Михайлович Халилов; 30 January 1952 – 25 December 2016) was an Uzbek-born Russian military band conductor and composer. A lieutenant general in the Russian military, he conducted the massed Russian military bands at the annual "Victory Day" parade held in the Moscow's Red Square a record 14 times. He died when the plane he was on, en route to Syria, crashed into the Black Sea off Sochi, Russia.

Early life and education

Khalilov was born into a family famous for producing military conductors on 30 January 1952 in the city of Termez, located in what is now Uzbekistan. His father was a career officer in the Soviet Border Troops. At the age of 4, he began to compose his own music. A career officer, he graduated from the Moscow Military Musicians School at the age of 11. From 1970 to 1975 he was on the conducting faculty of the Moscow State Conservatory Tchaikovsky (class of Professor GP Alyavdin).


Khalilov's first posting was being a conductor at the Pushkin Higher School of Radioelectronics of Air Defense under the Soviet Air Defence Forces, before being a teacher at the Moscow military conductor's faculty in 1981. As conductor of the Pushkin Higher School military band he won first place in the competition of military bands of the Leningrad Military District in 1980 and gained the attention of the chief conductor of the Moscow Military District Military Band, Major General Nikolai Mikhailov, who brought him into that band as deputy conductor in 1984. He subsequently transferred to the governing body of the Military Band Service of the Armed Forces of the USSR that same year, marking his first national television appearance at that year's Revolution Day Parade and at the Victory Day Parade the following year as one of the deputy directors leading the massed bands that year, under his superior officer Major General Mikhalilov.

Khalilov rose through the ranks and eventually became the chief conductor and Senior Director of Music of the Military Band Service of the Armed Forces of Russia in 2002, with his first national TV appearance as chief conductor of the combined band in the 2003 Victory Day Parade. In May 2015, Khalilov became a member of the Board of Trustees' Academy festive culture. He served as chief conductor of the Moscow area massed military bands and emeritus director of music and conductor for the Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense for a record 14 years

In that capacity, Khalilov organised many festive theatrical events in Moscow which were attended by Russian military bands and groups from many countries. Events included international military tattoos "The Kremlin Zorya", and "Spasskaya Tower". He toured with the leading bands of the Russian Armed Forces in Austria, Sweden, United States, Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Finland, France, Switzerland, and Belgium.

Later life and death

In April 2016, Khalilov became the artisic director of the Alexandrov Ensemble, known worldwide as the Red Army Choir. Khalilov retired from the Moscow Garrison Orchestra on 22 August 2016, and conducted Russian civil war song White Army Black Baron on the Red Square as his last major performance with the orchestra. He was replaced as Chief Conductor of the orchestra by Colonel Timofey Mayakin, a Merited Artist of Russia.

Khalilov died in the crash of the RA-85572 Tupolev TU-154 plane that went down in the Black Sea off Sochi on 25 December 2016 with the choir and dance arm of the ensemble, scheduled to perform for Russian troops stationed in Syria as part of New Year celebrations. The crash was believed to have been caused by a problem with the plane's flaps though recently reports suggest pilot disorientation was the cause. At a makeshift memorial set up for him, hundreds of mourners left flowers and candles.

Khalilov was buried on 16 January 2017 at the Tracts the Archangelsk churchyard of the Kirzhachskiy district, Vladimir region. He was given a military funeral that was attended by many of his past and former colleagues and students, and eulogies were given by many including his successor to the Moscow Garrison Orchestra Colonel Mayakin. The Nowinki Village in that district, which is located near the Khmelevo and the Archangel churchyard, is the birthplace of the ancestors of Khalilov. This village was his childhood home and Khalilov caried his love for Nowinki and its picturesque surroundings throughout his life and as such, he was buried here instead of in Moscow. He last spent time in this village on 11 December 2016, two weeks before his death.

Prior to his death, Khalilov was still actively writing music for various occasions including a piece for a Russian film.


Khalilov was an accomplished musician and conductor, being able to play many types of musical instruments, including the piano, with proficiency, and could conduct both choirs and bands. As the conductor for the massed military bands during Victory Day parades, he conducted the thousand-strong band energetically and also directed the band's closing performance for the parade. Notably, he conducted the massed bands during the 60th, 65th and 70th Victory Day parades that were usually longer than usual and had a different sort of ending performance by the bands.

Khalilov was the last of the great conductors educated in Soviet times. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the band, along with the rest of the army, was in disarray. When he was appointed conductor of the Massed Bands of the Moscow Garrison, he worked hard to reorganize and rebuild it, to the point that it had a more prominent feature than before in the Victory Day parades. In 2003 the band fielded less than 400 musicians for the Victory Day parade but by the 2016 Victory Day parade, the massed bands had more than a thousand musicians led by more than 20 deputy directors. In the 2010 Victory Day parade, Khalilov successfully conducted a huge combined band consisting of both Russian and foreign military bands. During the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival, Khalilov would sometimes conduct all the participants as they played the final song during the closing ceremony.

Khalilov was also an accomplished music composer apart from being a military conductor, and wrote many pieces for the brass band including "Adagio", "Kant", "Afghan", "Elegy", marches such as "Cadet", "Youth", "Rynda", "Ulan", as well as romances and songs. He composed many new military marches and songs, some of which he used in the Victory Day parades he conducted.


In his career, he earned many awards including the Order of Honor, Order "For Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR" 3rd Class, the Medal for Military Merit 1st Class, and the titles of Honoured People's Artist of Russia and Honoured Art Worker of Russia.[1] In his lifetime, he had conducted many interviews and appeared in programmes about Russian military bands, making him relatively popular and well known among the public for a military conductor. The Moscow Military Music College was renamed the Moscow Military Music College Lieutenant-General VM Khalilov. Valery Khalilov Square in Kirzhach is named after him in his memory and according to a Russian news commentary, the square "is a lovely park - the same age as the deceased conductor". Social activists of the city have also decided to establish a festival of brass bands in memory of Khalilov, which is to be held in the newly opened Alexander Garden. The first festival is planned for July 2017 and the park has been described as "a beautiful place and a suitable place."

One of the streets in the city was renamed after him and officials renamed the various places and institutions by 30 January, Khalilov's birthday


  1. ^ Валерий Халилов на сайте Минобороны России

External links

  • Более 50 оркестров будут участвовать в параде на Красной площади
  • Валерий Халилов at Echo of Moscow
  • Валерий Халилов: "Спасская башня на Сахалине" - продолжение московского фестиваля
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