The accompaniment skill of the orchestra is well-known - it is often invited to take part in international competitions. This was one of the reasons why in 1996 Ponkin was requested to become music director and chief conductor of the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. The conductor started with the preparation of Tschaikowsky’s Swan Lake and Verdi’s Othello. In October 1996 the latter had an overwhelming premiere.
“The new conductor Vladimir Ponkin brings into the performance the gift of a real musician and mastership of an experienced conductor - for a long time the orchestra hasn’t sounded so absolute and perfect”. (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow)
In summer 1996 the Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra participated in the 42nd Puccini festival in Torre del Lago. Ponkin gave two symphony concerts of French and Russian music in the frameworks of this opera festival.
According to the Italian press they “significantly raised the emotional temperature of the festival. Ponkin knows huge repertoire. His interpretation of the authors belonging to different historical periods and styles is extremely diverse”. (Viareggio. La Nazione)
“Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain, performed first, revealed the qualities of the orchestra. That was an ardent musicality combined with baton technique discipline and care of Vladimir Ponkin who conducted with confidence and clarity” . (Mannheimer Morgen)
“The Moscow Philharmonic under Vladimir Ponkin created a furor… starting with the overture to Wagner’s Rienzi. All the details of the piece which are never heard in other performances were delicately played”. (NRZ Oberhausen)
“Ponkin’s baton is superb… Mastership of this active, musically gifted, alert and perceptive conductor should be specially mentioned”. (Corriere della sera, Milan)
The range of Vladimir Ponkin’s repertoire is enormous, it includes both popular compositions by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Tschaikowsky and rare for the Moscow audience music such as Elgar’s or Stravinsky’s pieces. Ponkin dares to perform modern music as well. He presented Russian premieres of Penderezki and Lutoslawsky in the past. And it was under his direction that the Modern Music Ensemble made its first steps in the early 90-s. The conductor is also considered one of the best to accompany soloists including opera singers.
“Without exaggeration, the interpretation of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique can be regarded as an outstanding event. The conductor’s theatrical intellection and comprehension of the whole composition typical of a producer made a bewitching impression”. (Nezavisimaya Gaseta, Moscow)
In January 2005 Vladimir Ponkin was appointed artistic director and chief conductor of the National Academic Folk Orchestra of Russia named after N.P.Ossipov.
The Ossipov Orchestra, founded in 1919 as State Orchestra of Folk instruments, is the best folk company of the world that has ever existed. The Orchestra's precision, range, flexibility and the dynamics were the constant source of miracle. (Pittsburgh Press)