After the fall
Local performers get a new platform.
Published: November 2, 2011 (Issue # 1681)
Traditions not only unify a nation and keep its spirit up, but also inspire it to push forward with new creative achievements, according to the organizers of the tenth St. Petersburg Autumn international festival of Russian art that got underway last week and runs through Nov. 14.
The festival, which was first held in 2002, aims to showcase the potential and talent of contemporary Russian artists from a historical perspective and to unite Russian performers working abroad.
This year’s festival opened with an Italian evening devoted to the celebration of the Year of Italy in Russia. Ilya Demikhovsky, who works in Italy, together with Pavel Yelyashevich performed music by Dmitry Shostakovich, Boris Tishchenko and Mikhail Zhuravlev.
The festival takes pride in the fact that it is without boundaries. There is no distinction between professional performers, beginners and amateurs, nor between different art genres and forms. Church music is represented alongside Russian folk music; contemporary St. Petersburg musicians play both their own music and that of classic composers such as Bach, Schubert and Rachmaninov.
The organizers of the festival closely collaborate with music schools and the Mikhail Glinka School of the Arts and give children the opportunity to play their own music.
This year, the festival also includes an illustration exhibition, literature forum, and, for the first time, an international independent film festival titled ArtoDocs.
“Film screenings and discussions previously took place within the festival, so the creation of an independent film event was a rather logical step,” said Mikhail Zhuravlev, composer and art director of the festival.
Both fiction and non-fiction films will be shown. Every evening during the film festival, screenings of classic films by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky will be held.
“Krzhizhanovsky was a real genius. His films are not only a national but a world treasure. It’s a tragedy that lots of people have never heard of him and his films,” Zhuravlev added.
The presentation of unique yet unjustifiably forgotten works of art that can nowadays be difficult to find is another distinctive feature of the festival.
“People who work on the festival can be described as Don Quixotes, because they often try to save what has already been destroyed either by time or by people,” Zhuravlev said.
This year Camel Studio and Virgorod publishing house have succeeded in completing a project to find, restore and present an audio recording of the song “Pinezh,” recorded in 1976 by the eminent folklorist Andrei Kabanov for visitors to the St. Petersburg Autumn festival.
One of the participants in the St. Petersburg Autumn festival is the young musician and composer Alexei Chernov. He has won numerous international competitions and festivals, including the International Tchaikovsky Competition, but his first steps were taken at the St. Petersburg Autumn festival several years ago. His composing style is influenced by traditional Russian music and the late romantic style.
Chernov is a regular guest at European concerts, but, like many talented Russian artists, hasn’t had much success outside of Russia himself. At this year’s St. Petersburg Autumn festival, he will perform at the State Academic Cappella and will conduct a workshop for music beginners.