The Sydney Symphony announce a 2013 three city Russian tour.

50 years after he defected to the West, Vladimir Ashkenazy looks set to return to his native Russia, this time at the helm of the Sydney Symphony.

The SSO announced its plans today which include November performances in Moscow and St Petersburg. “The Sydney Symphony is a wonderful group of people – an orchestra of which Australia can be very proud,” said Ashkenazy. “I am greatly looking forward to taking the orchestra to my place of birth and showcasing their talents to the world.”

The Orchestra will perform at the iconic St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and at the Moscow Conservatory, former stamping grounds of the likes of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov. The tour kicks off with a performance at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, a city that Ashkenazy last visited back in 1961. He is known to have a soft spot for the region however as his first piano teacher Anaida Sumbatian was an ethnic Armenian.

“It will be good for Russians to see an Australian orchestra,” Ashkenazy told The Australian. “For Russians, it’s (a case of) ‘Australia? Where is it?’ When we play...