About the XIII International Conservatory Week Festival

The International Conservatory Week festival established by the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 2001 has become an exclusive creative event of the vibrant cultural life of Russia's Northern Capital. For thirteen years, the festival has been a center of attraction for artists, professors, and music experts who represent higher institutions of music from almost every continent. This large-scale forum has shown about 200 conservatories of the world, and has successfully carried out hundreds of concerts and master classes. Such celebrity musicians as Yuri Temirkanov, RodionShchedrin, SauliusSondeckis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Valery Gergiev, VasilySinaisky,SemyonBychkov have participated in it, as well as young talented performers at the beginning of their careers. The festival has also seen interesting scientific conferences, seminars, and bright memorable exhibitions and presentations.

International Conservatory Week combines concerts and educational concepts as well as innovative ideas from the best traditions of academic music. This allows the project to stay up-to-date and develop rapidly year by year. The festival engages all the participants and guests into a united international process which contributes to free and open musical communication and makes the international forum highly popular.

The XIII International Conservatory Week festival was held from 1-9 November 2013 at several different venues of the city such as the Concert Hall of the Smolny Cathedral, the White Hall of the Sheremetev Palace, and the White Hall of the Polytechnic University. Most of the festival’s concert programs took place at the Glazunov Hall of the Conservatory, which was the main stage of the event. Musicians from Russia, Armenia, the United States, Japan, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, Israel and South Africa introduced listeners to the unique performance culture of their countries, unusual ensembles and rare instruments. The rich and exciting programs of the international forum, which involved a wide range of genres, styles and musical trends, had been created not only for professionals, but also for music fans in general.

The festival’s topics are updated annually in response to important cultural shifts, both globally and in specific countries. International Conservatory Week 2013 was focused on three significant topics at once. One of them was the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), one of the most venerable representatives of British composing, and it was the key focus for several festival programs. This anniversary was also connected with the international musicological conference, which was attended by major Russian and foreign researchers of the composer’s creative heritage. The exhibition of the posters supported by the British Council in Russia was dedicated to the anniversary as well. One of the most remarkable moments of the festival was the first performance of Spring Symphony by B. Britten at the opening concert. Two more well-known works by the British composer - The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Simple Symphony were also performed as part of the forum.

The second topic of the International Conservatory Week 2013 was dedicated to the Netherlands-Russia cultural exchange year, which was very significant historically because this cooperation started more than three centuries ago from the time of Peter the Great. Performances by Dutch professors who specialize in a baroque repertoire using early instruments - organ, harpsichord and clavichord, certainly attracted the attention of experts and lovers of 17th and 18th century European music.

The 310th anniversary of St. Petersburg, which had been celebrated that year, was also entered into the festival’s schedule of events. An exhibition of paintings titled Musical Petersburg, presented in the Glazunov Hall foyer, manifested the artist’s creative perception of images in sound of the modern Northern Capital. A documentary exhibition, on the contrary, represented materials related to the rich cultural history of the city. These unique photographs, concert leaflets (many of which represent the whole epoch), and faded posters gave the participants and guests of the forum a chance to get in touch with a retrospective of St. Petersburg's musical life. With that special attention given to St. Petersburg, the festival showed its interest in promoting the cultural capital of Russia and aims to highlight the high status of the city on the global artistic stage.

The diversity of the festival’s traditional series All Flags on a Visit, Orchestral Academies and Choral Academies became of great interest to a wide audience. The concert Jazz on Teatralnaya Square was addressed primarily to young students, as well as the World Premier Evening of contemporary composers, united with one fairy-tale concept of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The works, where different kinds of compositional techniques bizarrely connected with mummery and media arts, appeared in a fascinating musical and theatrical performance.

Along with the conference dedicated to Benjamin Britten, art and documentary exhibitions, the applied research section of the festival included a seminar on contemporary composition which featured open lectures and master classes from prominent music professors of Europe and the USA.

It should be emphasized that students from all of St. Petersburg's universities were allowed to the concert programs and had applied research events of the International Conservatory Week free of charge.

The festival management hopes that the exceptionally diverse program and creative atmosphere produced an unforgettable experience and wonderful emotions for all the guests and participants of the International Conservatory Week.