Moscow Easter Festival

XIV MOSCOW EASTER FESTIVALThe Fourteenth Moscow Easter Festival will take place from April 12th through May 9th 2015 with the support of the Moscow City Government, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, and with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Extremely generous in both its geographic coverage and the number of excellent musical events, the Festival this year will commemorate two crucial dates in the history of the world and musical culture: the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II and the 175th anniversary of the birth of a great Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

The Fourteenth Moscow Easter Festival will open officially on April 12th at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with a concert by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev conducting and good friend and perennial Festival participant Denis Matsuev as soloist. The Orchestra and the Maestro will be arriving in Moscow from Vladimir where they will have given a matinee concert that same day.

The schedule of the symphony programme will include performances in Votkinsk where Tchaikovsky was born and in Klin where he spent the final years of his life, as well as in cities that are intimately connected with the course of his life—Izhevsk, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg—all by way of celebrating the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s birth.

This anniversary will also feature solo concerts by some of today’s most exceptional musicians: pianist Boris Berezovsky and soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre Olga Borodina and Mikhail Petrenko.

Concerts to mark the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory will be given by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev in two Hero Cities, Moscow and Volgograd; and in cities that distinguished themselves for their military role, Belgorod and Kursk; and also in Samara, Voronezh, Orenburg, Ekaterinburg, Tyumen, and Perm. The concerts will offer the “war symphonies” by Prokofiev and Shostakovich, the late works of Rachmaninov, and compositions by Nikolai Medtner.

In anticipation of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the Fourteenth Easter Festival will present Competition winners from previous years: pianists Barry Douglas, Denis Matsuev, and Boris Berezovsky; opera stars Albina Shagimuratova and Mikhail Kazakov; and also young people who have already used their gifts to good effect. Among the Festival’s participants are also young people who are making a name for themselves: Behzod Abduraimov, Edgar Moreau, Pavel Milyukov, and Andrey Baranov.

The symphony programme of the Fourteenth Festival will range all across the map as the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev will also appear in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Magnitogorsk, Penza, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, and in the capital of Kazakhstan—Astana.

Even though the regional tour is filled to overflowing, there will also be a full complement of concerts in Moscow as part of the symphony programme: the Festival opening (April 12th) and the closing (May 9th) along with the concert performance of Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson and Delilah with Mariinsky Theatre soloist Olga Borodina will all take place in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. There will be charitable concerts for students and teachers of Moscow State University (April 13th); a charitable concert for those serving in the armed forces and their families in the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army (May 8th); a series of concerts in the Tchaikovsky Hall (April 13th and 30th, May 7th and 8th). The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev at the podium will make its first appearance at the new Philharmonia-2 Hall (April 30th). And of course there will be the traditional concert open to the public for veterans of World War II at Poklonnaya Gora (May 9th).

For many years Valery Gergiev has been devoted to the advancement of choral singing in Russia. To this end the Russian Choral Society was revived at his suggestion in the beginning of 2013, and he was unanimously elected its President. And for the third straight year the programme of the Moscow Easter Festival will foster new regional choral groups, especially children’s choirs, and also popularize choral singing in general. This year the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev will perform in most of Russia’s regions alongside local choirs. The culmination of the “choral line” of the Fourteenth Festival will be a colossal concert in Ulyanovsk (May 3rd) featuring the Thousand-voice Children’s Choir of Ulyanovsk Oblast.

This year the unprecedented geographic sweep of the Festival’s choral programme—from Hero City Novorossiisk on the Black Sea and on to Anadyr, the capital of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, located at the very edge of Russia’s Northeast. There will also be concerts in Hero Cities Moscow and Tula, and in other cities that contributed to victory in World War II such as Tver, Arkhangelsk, Dmitrov, Mozhaisk, and Kozelsk, as well as in Tobolsk, Salekhard, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Zaraisk, Kirillov, Mytishchi, Korolyov, Kaluga, Alexandrov, Murom, Istra, Vologda, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl, Kolomna, Noginsk, Khimki, Yegoryevsk, Staritsa, and Serpukhov.

The choirs in the Festival include the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, the Alexandrov Russian Army Ensemble, the Choir of the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic, the Sveshnikov State Academic Choir, the Patriarch Choir of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Russian Northern Folk Choir, Blagovest, the Orenburg Russian Folk Choir, the Yaroslavia Capella Philharmonic Choir, the Russian Rhapsody Folk Instrument Ensemble, the Masters of Choral Singing Grand Choir, the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir, the Massed Choir of Vasily of the Forest Orthodox School, the Pomorskye Kryzhaniya Vocal Ensemble, the Popov Choir, and the Festival Male Choir of the Danilov Monastery. Excellent groups from abroad will visit—the Saint Alexander Choir (Athens, Greece), the Yerevan Chamber Choir (Yerevan, Armenia), the Mdzlevari Choir (Tbilisi, Georgia), Divna Ljubojević and Melodi (Belgrade, Serbia), Zero8 (Stockholm, Sweden), and Yulangelo (Sofia, Bulgaria).

Among the children’s choirs participating in the Fourteenth Festival there are: the Viktoria Children’s Capella Choir, the Krupitsa Childrens’ Folk Ensemble, the Popov Large Children’s Choir, the Partes Concert Choir, the Boys’ and Young Men’s Choir of the Ministry of Defence of Russia, the Sveshnikov Boys’ and Young Men’s Choir, the Moscow State University St. Tatiana the Martyr Choral School Choir, the Veretentse Folk Ensemble, the Vladimir Choir for Boys and Young Men, and also Rosarte (Athens, Greece), the Bratislava Boys’ Choir (Bratislava, Slovakia), and Mdzlevari Choir (children’s choir, Tbilisi, Georgia).

The opening of the choral programme will be held in the Hall of Church Assemblies in Christ the Saviour Cathedral (April 14th). The finale of the programme will be a gala concert in Tchaikovsky Hall (May 6th).

The chamber programme will stretch across a broad swath from Gadzhiyevo on Kolsky Bay in the Barents Sea to Yakutsk. Concerts, vocal master classes and open rehearsals will also be on offer in Moscow, Klin, Zelenograd, Lipetsk, Yoshkar-Ola, Kostroma, Abakan, Krasnoyarsk, and Murmansk.

Soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre Academy of Young Singers Olga Pudova, Irina Shishkova, Ilya Selivanov and Grigory Chernetsov along with Artistic Director Larisa Gergieva will present special programmes called “Songs Scorched by War” and “Tchaikovsky—Opera Masterpieces and Songs”.

The chamber group Ensemble 2012, a joint project of the Russian-German Academy of Music, will makes its first appearance at the Festival in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (May 4th) and then in Klin (May 5th).

The bells programme this year will for the first time extend beyond Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Public concerts of musical bell ringing by today’s best practitioners of the art will be heard in Zagornovo and Ilyinsk of the Ramensky region, in Istra, Zvenigorod, Sergiev Posad, Rostov Veliky, as well as on the Solovetsky Islands and in Veliky Novgorod and Rzhev, both cities with distinguished war-time records.

The bells programme will reach these bell towers and churches: Church of Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles in Starye Sady, the Convent of John the Forerunner, the Resurrection New Jerusalem Stauropegial Monastery, the Epiphany Cathedral Monastery, Church of the Assumption of the Holy Mother in Gonchary, the Savvino-Storozhevsk Monastery, Church of the Holy Virgin’s Kazan Icon on Red Square, the Troitsk-Sergiev Monastery, the Novgorod State Museum and Park, the Museum of Folk Wooden Architecture, Church of the Feodorovsky Icon of the Mother of God (Feodorovsky Cathedral), the Church of the Lord’s Presentation, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Church of Flor and Lavr at Zatsepa, the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino, the Church of the Holy Virgin Shroud in Krasnoye Selo, the Church of the Ascension at the Serpukhov Gates, the Nicholo-Perevinsk Monastery, the Church of St. Gregory of New Caesaria in Derbitsy, the Church of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh in Krapivniki, the Cathedral of the Okovets Icon of the Holy Mother, the Spaso-Preobrazehnsky Solovetsky Monastery, the Church of the Martyr John the Warrior on Yakimanka, the Sts. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, the Church of the Holy Virgin Shroud on Lyschikov Hill, the Rostov Kremlin State Museum and Park, the Danilov Stauropegial Monastery, the Church of the Holy Resurrection in Sokolniki, the Church of the Holy Trinity in Nikitniky, the Church of Michael the Archangel, the Church of the Presentation of the Holy Mother of God and the Sts. Peter and Paul Church, the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Stary Vagankov, the Cathedral of the Presentation of the Holy Mother at Petrovsky Park, the Church of St. Mitrophan of Voronezh, the Church of St. Nicholas at Bolvanovka, the Church of the Annunciation at Petrovsky Park, the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Holy Mother, the Church of St. George the Victorious on Voznesenskaya Square, and the Moscow State Museum and Reserve “Kolomenskoye—Izmailovo—Lyublino—Lefortovo”.