BOSTON – The Educational Bridge Project’s nineteenth annual Russian-American festival begins on Wednesday, May 18th, and continues through Saturday, May 28th, 2011, in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The festival’s schedule, comprised of more than twenty events, will be presented in collaboration with Russian counterparts from various universities, conservatories, museums, community centers, and libraries. Most of the festival participants have already met each other over the years, either in Boston or St. Petersburg/Moscow, sharing the stages and auditoriums in collaborative concerts, seminars, presentations, and discussions.
One of the central events of the upcoming festival, on May 20th, 3 p.m. at the Theater of the State Hermitage Museum, will celebrate the 100th birthday of world-famous violinist and Boston University Professor Roman Totenberg who gave master-classes to young violinists in St. Petersburg in 2001 and 2002 during previous Educational Bridge Project’s festivals. The concert will begin with a broadcast of Professor Totenberg’s welcome address to the Russian audience and to violinists David Chakvetadze, Aleksandra Korobkina, and Igor Zolotarev, who will be performing music of Milhaud, Bernstein, Szymanowski, and Penderecki, which was written in close collaboration with Roman Totenberg. This event is made possible through the valuable assistance of Anna Konivets of the Hermitage Museum, a member of the EBP Advisory Board.
One more centennial observance will celebrate the birth of St. Petersburg’s renowned pianist and pedagogue Ella Elinson (1911-2002) on May 19th, 5 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Isaac Brodsky Museum. Russian pianist Igor Uryash (St. Petersburg), who conquered Boston audiences during his 2009 visit, will perform Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” which was a corner stone in Ella Elinson’s repertoire.
A 2000 participant of the Educational Bridge Project's festival Professor Claudio Veliz, founder of “Boston, Melbourne, Oxford, Vancouver Conversazioni on Culture and Society,” a unique forum for discussions with “no predetermined course or conclusions,” will give a talk on 50 years of the history of Conversazioni to the academic and artistic community of St. Petersburg. The event will take place on May 28th, 5 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Composers’ Association (tbc).
Boston University professor Safoura Rafeizadeh, and two of her graduate students from the department of Graphic Design, Stephanie Horst and Melissa Levanti, will participate in the Eco-Design Conference, “Woods and Parks,” at the St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University (May 19th through 21st), as well as show their works to their Russian counterparts from the Baltic State Technical University (May 23rd), Herzen State Pedagogical University, and St. Petersburg State University (May 24th). Long-standing connections with these institutions have been maintained over the years by professors Tatiana Kholostova and Galina Sorokina.
Leon Gruenbaum, New York based musician, mathematician, and inventor of the electronic musical instrument, “Samchillian,” will demonstrate his invention at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (May 19th, 12 noon), St. Petersburg Composers’ Association (May 20th, 4 p.m.), the Theremin Center of the Electroacoustic Music at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (May 26th, 6 p.m.) and play together with Russian students at the Moscow University of Arts and Culture (May 23rd). Leon’s hosts, Moscow jazz historian Zinaida Kartasheva and St. Petersburg composer Anton Tanonov, both participated in previous EBP festivals in Boston.
Several festival events will be held in commemoration of the Second World War which began in the Soviet Union 70 years ago, in June of 1941. Vivian Doscow, who graduated from Boston University several years ago and now is working in Delhi, India, will speak to young audiences of the Frunzensky District libraries on the history of the Warsaw Ghetto, its tragedy and its heroes. Russian performers, pianist Igor Uryash and actress Maria Reshavskaya, will accompany Vivian’s talks to the Frunzensky District schoolchildren, organized by the District’s officials – Delaida Glebovskaya, Kirill Smirnov, Olga Galitskaya, Olga Sidorova, Yulia Kushenko, and Anna Smirnova – all of whom visited Boston for the EBP festivals in years past. A lecture by Bret Werb, musicologist from the Washington Holocaust Museum, on the topic, The Genesis and Fate of “We Will Never Die,” the large-scale touring propaganda “pageant” created in 1943 by Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht, Broadway composer Kurt Weill, and Zionist activist Peter Bergson, will be hosted by Galina Kopytova, the Chief Curator of the Manuscript Library of the St. Petersburg Institute of Arts Research who lectured at Boston University in 2004.
Young Israeli composer Matti Kovler, who is finishing his doctoral program at the New England Conservatory in Boston, will meet with students and faculty of the composition department of the St. Petersburg Conservatory (May 23rd). His hosts will include Russian composers, Alexander Radvilovich, Anton Tanonov, Eklaterina Blinova, Svetlana Nesterova and Nikolay Mazhara who were in Boston ten years ago and participated in the Educational Bridge Project’s festivals. Matti Kovler will also give a talk, “Jewishness in Music”, a personal take-in response to Wagner’s infamous essay,” at the Holocaust Museum at the Memorial Synagogue on Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow (May 19th, 5 p.m.)
American and Russian musicians will also perform at traditional Musical Evenings, in the famous St. Petersburg Salon Irida hosted by the Chaplygin family and at the art studio of Luba Kostenko whose exhibit in Boston last fall attracted enthusiastic attention from local artists and collectors. St. Petersburg soprano Maria Lyudko, well-known in the West, and the Vice-Rector of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, pianist Dmitriy Tchassovitin, who participated in several EBP festivals, will also perform.
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