Dear Friends of the Educational Bridge Project,

It is with the greatest pleasure that I am writing to you today with my report on the success of the recently finished 17th Educational Bridge Project's (EBP) festival, "From Boston to St. Petersburg."  First of all, my deepest gratitude goes to you, dear friend of the EBP, for your support.  Without it we would not be able to continue our work of bringing people together, time and time again.


I can't begin to tell you how much hard work goes into to producing these festivals by so many people but the results were extraordinary. Picture four young Americans boating on the Neva at night laughing and sharing stories with their Russian friends, and next morning intent on getting down to the serious business of working together to rehearse for concerts. The audiences that attended were obviously deeply touched by seeing that young people from two countries not only liked each other but collaborated incredibly successfully, producing beautiful music, and enjoying every minute of it.


Perhaps the highlight of our trip was the reception in our honor hosted by the US Consul General Sheila Gwaltney after our May 14 concert at the Hermitage Museum's Theater. And there was Tatiana Kosmynina, Cultural Affairs Assistant at the Consulate, who took upon herself all the organizational details of the welcoming reception. And we survived the traffic in the city designed by Peter the Great in 1703 without taking into consideration a possibility of congested traffic three centuries later. And there was Semion Kovarskiy, who loaned his cello to Sara Sitzer, for the whole duration of the festival so we could avoid the expense of cello airfare.


The evening concluded with a concert of music performed by EBP festival participants from 2001 to the present. My BU student, Maura Matlak, sang songs she had written; Svetlana Nesterova, who was in Boston in 2001, performed fragments of her new opera with her husband; Igor Zolotarev, who is due to come to Boston this fall, played Ravel's blues on his violin (see the videos).


So now we are back from St. Petersburg and hard at work planning our fall festival in which we will present a variety of events. There will be a children's opera in conjunction with the children of the Lincoln Middle School in Brookline and music composed by Julia Carey, our participant in 1998 and recent Harvard and NEC grad which will be played by Igor Zolotarev, who participated in 2004 and 2009. We plan programs staged at Lowell House of Harvard University, Killian Hall at MIT, the Elie Wiesel's Center's library, the BU Castle and the Goethe Institute.