About the XVI International Conservatory Week Festival

The XVI International Conservatory Week festival will be held 22 to 29 October 2016. The annual music forum founded by the St. Petersburg N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in 2001 brings concert and educational worlds together. Throughout 15 years of its existence, the Festival has presented over 250 world’s top music schools to music experts and amateurs, opened the numerous young and talented musicians to public, and introduced the art of teaching, demonstrated by renowned professors from Russia and abroad.
The XVI International Conservatory Week festival will be attended by top music schools from 15 countries: Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, the USA, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland.

The Festival concert programs devoted to landmark events of the Russian and global musical culture will take place at the Conservatory and the superb concert platforms in St. Petersburg: Grand and Small Halls of Philharmonia, the Concert Hall and chamber halls of the Mariinsky Theater, the State Academic Capella, the Hermitage Theater, the Atrium of the General Staff Building, White Hall of the Sheremetev Palace, the Jaani Kirik Concert Hall, and the St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church.

What makes the International Conservatory Week concert line unique is that each of its exclusive and exceptional programs is specially arranged for the Festival. An evening of the event allows the audience to experience diverse music of different styles and ethnic communities exquisitely performed by quests and participants of the musical project.

With its democratic format, the Festival opens the way for the harmonic blend of various musical styles, forms and genres in its programs to remain fascinating for every listener, and foremost, - for the college youth. Along with the symphonic, choir and chamber pieces of classic composers, organ pieces and jazz compositions, the music in ethno, folk, and crossover style will be performed by Russian and guest solo artists and creative ensembles.
Special festival programs will mark the remarkable dates: the 260th Anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday, 125th Anniversary of Sergey Prokofiev, 110th Anniversary of Dmitry Shostakovich, as well as Bilateral Year of Russia and Greece.

The XVI International Conservatory Week festival opens on 22 October with a solemn ceremony awarding David Geringas, Cellist and Conductor, with the St. Conservatory Honorary Professor diploma and academic robe in the Grand Hall of Philharmonia.

The concert program will be filled with the music celebrating 2016 composer anniversaries: Mozart’s Sparrow Mass performed by the St. Petersburg State Conservatory Orchestra and Student’s Choir, Shostakovich’s Symphony no.1 and Concerto no.1 for cello and orchestra, with David Geringas performing solo. The orchestra will be conducted by Vasily Sinayskiy, the People’s Artist of Russia.

Each year the Festival has expanded its artistic repertoire by including pieces of national composition schools and works, never played at the St. Petersburg and Russian concert podiums before, into its programs. The number of premiers will be an enjoyable experience during the concert and ensemble marathon Viva Ensemble which will be held on 23-25 and 27 October at the various concert stages. Along with academic ensembles performing classical and contemporary music of different countries and continents, the national ensembles acquainting with ethnic traditions and authentic instruments will take part in the marathon.

The most eventful day of the Festival will be its second day – 23 October, Sunday.
It will be opened with an afternoon organ mono concert in the St. Stanislaus Church. Vita Kalnciema, professor of the Latvian Academy of Music will introduce the national organ culture to the public by performing renowned organ compositions.

The Festival concerts in chamber halls of Mariinsky Theatre II will be launched with a program dedicated to the 125th Anniversary of Sergey Prokofiev. The music of this St. Petersburg Conservatory graduate will be performed by the international competition winners - the alma mater students and postgraduates. They will present much of the genre range of the composer’s works – from piano miniatures and romances to opera and ballet fragments. One of the most impressing Festival’s event will be a premier of Prokofiev’s piano fugues written in his student years.
Then, top music scholars from Hungary, Lithuania and Spain will appear in chamber halls of the Mariinsky Theatre II. For the first time ever the International Conservatory Week festival will enjoy the participation of the Greek artists. In this Bilateral Year of Russia and Greece, the Festival will introduce centuries-old traditions and modern achievements of the country’s original musical culture to the St. Petersburg audience.

The Spanish guitar will be a composition focus of the Madrid Royal Conservatory. The grand national instrument reflecting the diverse Spanish cultural palette and the broadest range of emotions will be played solo and accompanied.

The eventful concert day will finish with an unforgettable fest of jazz: specially for the most demanding audience, the numerous prestige prizewinner, the true jazz legend - Leszek Mozdzer will perform with his jazz ensemble in the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre. The international trio (piano, double bass, and percussion) was founded over 10 year ago by occurring across three different musical cultures. Perhaps, the main ensemble’s moto might be their director’s words: “The most exciting in an improvisation for me is that I have no idea what I will play next. I open the future, and it becomes real.”

On 24 October, Monday, the International Conservatory Week festival has two different worth-visiting concerts to offer. The hall of the St. Petersburg Academic Capella will be a place for a music performance of two talented organists coming to the Northern Capital for the first time: baroque music master Lorenzo Ghielmi (the principal organist at the Basilica of San Simpliciano, a professor at the International Academy of Music in Milan), and an improviser, who is well renowned in Europe, a laureate of the prestigious international festivals – David Cassan (the principal organist of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Paris).

In the very same evening, the White Hall of Sheremetev Palace will be the stage for a multinational concert bringing together the top school musicians of Canada, Hungary, and Lithuania. The Russian premiers of the modern Canadian composers will be presented by a professor from the Brandon University. Miniatures of Debussy’s Children’s Corner, the Piazzolla tango and the Hungarian folk music will be performed by a Hungarian duet from Franz Liszt Academy of Music in unusual sound combination of harp and saxophone.

David Geringas (cello), a many-sided musician playing the widest repertoire from baroque to modern pieces was one of the first to perform music of avant-garde composers. Together with the Lithuanian quartet ART VIO, he will play Song of David for cello and string quartet composed in 2006 by Anatoly Shenderovas from Lithuania for the cellist anniversary. The quartet will also feature a number of impressive opuses of contemporary composers with Pavel Giunter, percussionist from Lithuania.

On 25 October, Tuesday, the performance of the Greek and Spanish musicians will be continued with the new ensemble programs in the Small Hall of Philharmonia. Here, the St. Petersburg audience will meet the Austrian ensemble Altenberg Trio from Vienna. The famous chamber musicians will play the classical and contemporary compositions.

On 26 October, Wednesday, the clear sound of many-voiced choir will fill the Jaani Kirik Concert Hall. The outstanding compositions of classical and the XX-century composers will be on during the evening and will suit every admirer of choral music.

Entirely different culture of the musical art with its national instruments and dresses will be demonstrated by an ensemble from Japan in the Small Hall of Philharmonia on Thursday, 27 October. Fostering and glorifying various sides of beauty, the Land of the Rising Sun has always attributed music with valuable meaning. Today’s modern musical therapy has been known for thousands of years and well relates to the mediational Japanese compositions initiating harmony, creative energy and spiritual serenity in the audience minds.

The evening program will also display the American musicians, professors of the Julliard School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. In addition, the concert listeners will be delighted with the vocal music of the United Kingdom. Traditions of the British geniuses - Henry Purcell and Benjamin Britten - have been supported and developed by their junior colleagues, compositions of whose will constitute the program performed by a professor of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

For the first time the International Conservatory Week festival will present an opera performance. In the year of 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death the XVI Festival and the city music life will be highlighted by the St. Petersburg opera premier King Lear which has been sought by the composition school pioneer – Sergei Slonimsky - for 16 years. The concert version will be featured on 28 October, Friday, in the Hermitage Theatre. The student theater performance has been supported by advice of the remarkable modern director – Aleksander Sokurov. The international competition laureates – students, graduates and postgraduates of the Conservatory, soloists of St. Petersburg opera theatres will star in the play. Alexei Vasilyev, the St. Petersburg Conservatory Director, will conduct the orchestra.

The XVI Festival will end on Saturday, 29 October, with a large-scale choral concert in the Atrium of the General Staff Building. The amazing solo programs will be performed by the St. Petersburg Conservatory Student’s Choir and the Student’s Choir of the Belarusian State Academy of Music (Minsk).

In conclusion they will jointly perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass, one of the most popular orchestral and choral compositions of the classical composer. The triumphal arch of Mozart’s musical pieces in the first and last days of the Festival will naturally bridge the many-sided and eventful program of the musical forum, paying tribute to the great Austrian master.

The applied research section of the Festival will include the conference and the St. Petersburg Conservatory Music Library exhibition devoted to 125th Anniversary of Sergey Prokofiev, International Educational Seminar on Music Management, meet-the-artist sessions, public lectures, rehearsals and master classes with famous professors of top music schools from all around the world.

The International Conservatory Week festival has been supported by the Russian Ministry of Culture, the St. Petersburg Committee for Culture and Committee for External Relations and under the patronage of the Board of Trustees engaging embassies, consulates general and institutes of national cultures, the top music schools of which are presented in the Festival playbill, which underlines its international status and prestige in the musical world.

The musical forum organizers hope that the XVI Festival will become a joyful event for all music admirers, evoking the wonderful impressions and inspiring its visitors and participants for the new creative works.