Dear friends! 

Following our twenty-year (and counting…) tradition, I am writing to you shortly after the Russian-American festival of the Educational Bridge Project is over.  The main reason is to THANK ALL THOSE who worked hard to prepare the festival, hosted the Russians, transported them, helped in organizing our concerts, lectures, talks, who brought their students to our events and (IMPORTANT!) sent us their enthusiastic responses.

It was so wonderful to get your responses shortly after our events!  Here are some of them – some of you wrote in Russian, some – in English, and I am including them here in their original form.  Once again, THANK YOU to our friends who sent these notes; it is very important to know what they liked at the festival’s program.  Here are your comments:

«Thank you very much for organizing the event that brought a huge crowd and was a moving and poignant» (Svitlana Malykhina).

«Thanks again for inviting me to this glorious evening of music and song» (Linda Werbner).

«I hope you continue such splendid work forever. As I told you before, I am so impressed by the Russian musicianship and you always seem to find those terrific musicians somewhere and bring them to our attention.  BRAVO!» (Michael Gruenbaum). 

“I just wanted you to know that several students spoke to me yesterday and said that this was a really wonderful Forum. Once again, I’m sorry to have missed it. Thank you for bringing Mr. Radvilovich to us! (Martin Amlin, BU Professor, Chair, Department of Composition and Theory AND my former teacher!)

“What a wonderful, wonderful recital by Alan Starovoitov at the Harvard Musical Association last Monday. I hope that the other EBP events have been as successful! Thank you for including me in the invitations to this concert. I wish you well with EBP, and I will watch for next year's programs.” (Jeffery Williams)

Еще раз хочу сказать Вам огромное спасибо за организацию моего визита в США. Для меня, он получился крайне плодотворным. Надеюсь Вам было комфортно со мной работать. Также надеюсь, что Вы остались довольны моим итоговым выступлением. Спасибо за все. (Alexander Kushnarev)

And now – my own, personal, full-heartened thankyous:

Thank you, Stephen Friedlaender, for organizing the most interesting program for the young St. Petersburg architect Taisiia Makhova.  This year, according to Stephen’s plan, Taisiia’s program included not one but two cities, Boston and New York, with the help of NYC architect, S. Friedlaender’s Harvard College classmate and friend, Peter Wolf, and opened the doors of the prestigious American architectural firms. Taisiia wrote to us shortly after returning home to St. Petersburg, “Thanks to Stephen’s efforts I had a chance to be at three absolutely different architectural New York’s firms: Beyer Blinder Belle; Rafael Viñoly Architects; Levien & Company, Inc. It was incredibly INTERESTING!”

Thank you, Sarah Gagnon, graduate student of the Boston University School of Music, and your teacher, Professor Eric Ruske, for organizing Full Immersion Program for Alexander Kushnarev, 4th year French Horn student from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  Alexander’s ten-day program was filled with master-classes, lessons, lecture attendances, and rehearsals for the festival closing event – the first ever (!) French Horn Gala at the Boston University School of Music.

Also, thank you, Sofya Bazhanova, Boston University non-musician 4th year student, who designed and carried out One Absolutely Non-Musician Day for Alexander and spent it with him (must admit that I was not aware of all the details of that program but, knowing Sofya, I am sure it was interesting).

French Horn Gala:  

Great thank you goes to Boston composer Tony Schemmer who organized solo recital of the young St. Petersburg baritone Alan Starovoitov at the Harvard Musical Association (HMA). For Alan our 32nd festival was the first chance to perform in the US.  But, based on how warm the Boston audience(s) reacted to him, I can assure you that we will see Alan in Boston again.  Alan’s accompanist at the HMA concert was a young Boston-based Brazilian-born pianist Victor Cayres, who teaches piano at his Alma Mater, Boston University, where he studied with Boaz Sharon.  We are looking forward at having this concert performed again, in our next, 33rd, festival in St. Petersburg in May 2018.                                       

On the photo: Alan Sarovoitov, Tony Schemmer, Victor Cayres, and …



Alan Starovoitov’s appearance at our festival in Boston was not a coincidence (accident). In fact, he was recommended by his teacher, Prof. Maria Lyudko, well-known in Boston coloratura soprano. Alan is a recent graduate of the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory (did I mention that it was my Alma Mater too?....) and a winner of the 2017 Competition established by Prof. Lyudko.  One of the festival concerts included the program where they both were on stage – the Teacher, Maria Lyudko, sung the Russian classical romances, and the Student, Alan Starovoitov, sung the Soviet songs. Because I was directing and leading the 62-minute program, I am telling you as a witness. Usually the musicians ask me to turn pages but Maria Lyudko, who accompanied on the piano to Alan Starovoitov AND HERSELF (!) played everything by memory and did not have pages to turn. Unique Maria Lyudko!

This event was dedicated to the recently published book, “Blockade Diary,” whose author is Tamara Bogdanova, the 92-y.o. ballerina from the world-famous Mariinsky Theater, who for the last twenty years lives in Boston. Maria Lyudko and Alan Starovoitov’s musical program was based on the musical compositions which were mentioned by Tamara Bogdanova in her Diary and published many years later by Moisey Korenblum.  A few years ago, when ballerina celebrated her 85th birthday, she spoke at one of the events  at Boston University  during the Educational Bridge’s fall 2010 festival On October 24, 2017, Boston University students culd only see Tamara on the screen, but nevertheless, it made a big impact on the audience.

Three students from the Russian Program class of Prof. Svitlana Malykhina read the pages from the T. Bogdanova’s “Blockade Diary” which they translated from Russian into English themselves:  Elizabeth Leyn read the page dated November 30, 1941, Roland Kibardin chose the page dated January 13, 1942, and Danielle Wallner March 3, 1942. And the audience in the overfull classroom number 205 on the second floor of the Mugar Library was listening for the whole hour (and two minutes) with amazing attention. 

Poster created by Prof. Svitlana Malykhina:


Thank you, Boston University Professors Svitlana Malykhina and Maria Gapotchenko, and your wonderful students for their attention and reaction at the events dedicated to “Blockade Diary” and to Mussorgsky’s Ballade, “The Forgotten.”

Thank you, Kyriell Palaeologue, who participates in our festivals in different capacities – for (again) accompanying Alexander Kushnarev on the piano, giving a talk on the History of Musical Notation, and helping enormously with meeting the participants at Logan Airport upon their arrivals.  

Thank you, Barbara Tornow, Diana Vinkovetskaya and Leonid Perlovsky, Shella and Anatoly Batelman, Ann Bajart and Tony Schemmer for hosting our guests from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Thank you, Haeshin Shin, BU Piano Dep-t, doctoral candidate, for organizing Alexander Radvilovich’s schedule of rehearsals, helping with audio and video-recordings during his presentation at the Composers Forum (10/17), organizing the concert of Radvilovich’s piano music at Boaz Sharon’s Studio, designing (beautifully!) and distributing the poster for the event, invited big audience which included 3 y.o. Elizabeth, and performing there with A. Radvilovich his two-piano compositions (10/17)

Thank you, Sofa Dobromyslova, for spreading the word in the Russian community of Boston and bringing the Russians to our events (even though, they understand English very well – I could tell)

Thank you, Safoura Rafeizadeh, Mark Kuznetsov, and Alla Yakovleva, for proofreading my texts, and creating the festival booklet and website!

Thank you, wonderful Clarinetist Georges Devdariani, who performed with Maria Lyudko at the Blockade Diary event for the students of the Boston University’s Russian Program (10/24)

Thank you, Eduard Duchovny, chess champion and security officer at the MFA, for providing  7 free passes to the CHIZH Studio children for L. Leibman’s talk about the Museum’s Musical Instruments collection.

Thank you, Vladimir Cuellar, for your help in providing  (lots of) food and executing the post-concert reception at the Harvard Musical Association.

Thank you, Fidelity Charitable Foundation and Joe Jefferson Fund, for continuing to provide substantial financial support for the EBP festivals.

Thank you, Olga Livshin, for your help with English translation of Arseniy Golenishchev-Kutuzov’s poem “The Forgotten.”

Until next festival, our dear friends - the Educational Bridge continues its work!

Ludmilla Leibman, EBP’s founder and executive director                                                                                               Boston, USA                                                                                                                                                                November 13, 2017