Artistic and General Director — Yuri Simonov.
The orchestra was founded in 1951. Its first leader was Samuel Samosud. It was subsequently headed by Natan Rakhlin, Kirill Kondrashin, Dmitry Kitayenko, Vassily Sinaisky, and Mark Ermler. Under Kondrashin the orchestra was acclaimed worldwide, especially for premieres of compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich, Georgy Sviridov, Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Mieczysław Weinberg and other composers, as well as for accompanying Van Cliburn at the very first International Tchaikovsky Competition. The orchestra has collaborated with Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Since 1998 the ensemble has been led by Yuri Simonov.