Classical Music of St.Petersburg

"…Up until now there has been nothing of this stature and authority in the area of early music in Russia. A greater number of star musicians are to be seen at this festival than even during Gergiev's 'Stars of the White Nights' of the past few years".
Olga Manulkina and
Kira Vernikova,
The Golden Past has a Golden Future, Commersant Daily,
11 November 2000

"…the trains from Moscow to St Petersburg were full every week-end of people keen to hear concerts of early music".
Y. Broido,
Early Music Forever,
St Petersburg Evening,
23 November 2000

"…There were so many people in the audience for Michael Chance's concert with Musica Petropolitana that even the heads of cultural centres and well-known critics were seen wandering around in search of a seat".
M Bialik, The Festival ended on a high note, Nevsky Times,
9 November 2000

"…the forgotten chef d'oeuvres of Dario Castello, Tarkvino Merula, Marco Uchlelini, who stood at the crossroads of the Rennaissance and Baroque eras, had a drugs-like on the audience - which seemed completely stoned as a result".
M Fikhtengoldtz,
Angels and Demons, Izvestia,
12 October 2000

"I have participated in practically every early music festival there is in the world today. I have to say, and I mean it, that this particular festival in St Petersburg has the potential to become one of the best in the world. It has two great strengths: first of all - this city, which provides a fabulous setting for such a festival; and the way the audience reacts…"
Michael Chance,
(in an interview for
St Petersburg Radio)

Classical Music of St.Petersburg

The St Petersburg International Early Music Festival

The St Petersburg International Early Music Festival was founded in 1998 as a joint initiative between the British Council and the ensemble Musica Petropolitana to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Peter I's "Great Embassy" to England. It has now become an annual event organized by several of the Consulate-Generals and foreign cultural centers in St Petersburg, the Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, and the Russia Early Music Trust. It enjoys the support of the city Administration's culture committee and of the 2003 committee.The Festival draws on the musical traditions of Western Europe, Russia and of the East, and presents one of the leading tendencies of the music world in recent years: that of authentic performance, which strives for the greatest possible degree of historical accuracy and faithfulness to the original, using period instruments and "in the manner of the time".

The Festival's overwhelming success with audiences, musicians and critics alike over the past three years means that it is now established as one of the country's most important cultural events.

The Festival from 1998 to 2000…

Presented concerts by: Gustave Leonhardt (harpsichord, the Netherlands), Michael Chance (counter-tenor, UK), Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr (baroque violin and harpsichord, UK) Emma Kirkby and Anthony Rooley (soprano and lute, UK), Christophe Coin ('cello, France), Weiland Kujken (viola da gamba, Belgium), Nigel North (lute, UK), Il Giardino Armonico (Italy), Fretwork (UK), Anonymous 4 (USA), Oltremontano (Belgium), The Orlando Consort (UK), The Moscow Patriarchate's Choir, the Moscow Conservatoire Early Music Ensemble, Musica Petropolitana.

Premiered the works of: Anton Ferdinand Tietz (b.1742, Nuremberg; d.1810, St Petersburg), one of the most remarkable musicians at the court of Catherine the Great, teacher of Alexandre I; Jean-Baptiste Cardon, French harpist and composer at the court of Catherine the Great; Johann Henrich Facius (b.1760, d.1806), German 'cellist and composer in the service of Count N.P. Sheremetev.

Delivered regular master-classes by Europe's most distinguished professors.

Marked the 100th anniversary of the St Petersburg Museum of musical instruments with a series of exhibitions.

Marked the Bach 250th anniversary with a musical marathon at the Sheremetev Palace.

Has published a Festival journal annually and organised a series of lectures.

The Festival from 2001 to 2003 will include:

Each year, an incredible season of concerts bringing some of the world's greatest performers and music to St Petersburg.

  • New horizons:early music of the Middle and Far East.
  • Rediscovered treasures: Russian court music of the 18th century.
  • The creation of Russia's first baroque orchestra.
  • Baroque Opera: world-class productions of masterpieces by Handel, Purcell, Paiziello, Traetta.
  • Special festival broadcasts on France Musique, BBC Radio 3, WDR, EBU.




Festival Opening
27 September, Thurs.

Musica Petropolitana (St Petersburg) and Olga Pasechnik (Poland)

28 September, Fri.

Siebe Henstra (clavichord, Netherlands)

29 September, Sat.
Conservatorie Concert Hall

Jose Miguel Moreno (lute, Spain)

30 September, Sun.
Peterhoff Palace

Catherine the Great Orchestra (St Petersburg)

1 October, Mon.
Conservatoire Concert Hall

Trio Hantai (France)

2 October, Tues.

“Drevnerusski Raspev”
The Choir of the Moscow Patriarchate

4 October, Thurs.

Michael Chance (counter-tenor, UK)

5 October, Fri.

Trio Ponseele (Belgium)

7 October, Sun.
Conservatoire Concert Hall

Edward Parmentier (harpsichord, USA)

9 October, Tues.
Conservatoire Concert Hall

Orchestra of the Sixth Floor (Finland)

12 October, Fri.
Menshikov Palace

Andres Mustonen Trio (Estonia)

13 October, Sat.
Lutheran Church
of St Catherine

Yuri Semenov (organ, St Petersburg) and
Yuri Martynov (harpsichord, Moscow)

14 October, Sun.

Andrei Reshetin (violin, St Petersburg)

15 October, Mon.

Alexei Lubimov (hammerklavier, Moscow)

16 October, Tues.
Sheremetev Palace

Mara Galassi (harp, Italy)

17 October, Wed.

Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb (UK)

18 October, Thurs.

Christine Schornsheim & Christophe Hundgeburth (Germany)

Festival Closing
19 October, Fri.

Il Giardino Armonico (Italy)


The 4th International Early Music Festival opens this year on 27 September and runs until 19 October. The venues for the concerts are the State Capella, the Philharmonic Chamber and Great Halls, the Menshikov and Sheremetyev Palaces, the Throne Room of the Grand Palace at Peterhoff and the Greek Room at Pavlovsk Palace.

The festival’s partners are consulates and cultural centres in St. Petersburg: the Dutch Institute, the French Institute, the Goethe Institute, CEC International Partners (US) and the Consulates-General of Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, as well as the honorary consulate of Spain. The Festival receives support from the Delegation of the European Union in Russia. This alliance has afforded the festival’s organisers the possibility of inviting some world famous soloists and ensembles.

This year, as in the past, the festival will present a “European season” of early music in Russia. The opening concert at the Capella on 27 September features a rising star of European opera, the Polish soprano Olga Pasiechnyk. One of the leading contemporary exponents of early music and a favourite with audiences, the British counter-tenor Michael Chance, will be appearing at the Capella on 4 October. In the Philharmonic Chamber Hall on 17 October, the celebrated British musicians Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb (lute and mezzo-soprano) will perform a programme entitled “A Many-Coloured Coat. Love songs of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Neoplatonism”. Il Giardino Armonico from Italy, which will be appearing in the festival’s closing concert in the Great Hall of the Philharmonia on 19 October, is the most fashionable group in the European music world; its irrepressible energy, perfection in performance and sheer style have brought it world-wide acclaim and the mutual love of the Italian opera diva Cecilia Bartoli.

The tastes and styles of various nationalities will be represented in the concerts: from Spain – Jose Miguel Moreno (29 September, Philharmonic Chamber Hall); from France – Trio Hantai (4 October, Capella); from Belgium – the Marcel Ponseele Trio (5 October, Philharmonic Chamber Hall); from Finland – the Orchestra of the Sixth Floor (9 October, Philharmonic Chamber Hall); from Russia – the Orthodox choir of the Moscow Patriarchate “Old Russian Chant” (2 October, Capella) and Andrey Reshetin (14 October, Capella).

The clavichord will be heard in Russia for the first time in 150 years – Siebe Henstra (Netherlands, 28 September in the Greek Room at Pavlovsk Palace), as will a concerto for baroque harp – Maria Galassi (Italy, 16 October, Sheremetyev Palace).

During the festival a concert will be given by the Catherine the Great Orchestra – part of a project to establish Russia’s first regular professional baroque orchestra. The concert will take place in the Throne Room of the Grand Palace at Peterhof (30 September). This orchestra is intended to be at the centre of an Academy of early music, where young Russian musicians will be given the opportunity of studying with leading European specialists; this year the legendary violinist Maria Leonhardt will be giving master classes, as will US harpsichordist Edward Parmentier, and British counter-tenor Michael Chance (masterclasses are held at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire).

The festival’s educational programmes will be supplemented by a lecture series and the issue of an Almanac – a unique publication, including articles by leading researchers and entertaining material about early music and its role in society.

The festival will also feature “society entertainments” – the concert at Pavlovsk on 28 September, which will be the culmination of a Palace Day, and at Peterhoff on 30 September – a concert, fountains, fireworks and wine-tasting. Other amusements will be on offer throughout the festival.

The Early Music Festival in St. Petersburg is not merely a series of concerts – more a philosophy of taste in life.

Detailed information about the festival concerts and photographs are available from the Festival Organising Committee

International Early Music festival
tel +7/812/ 327 0889
fax +7/812/ 1181939
3 Kaluzhsky Pereulok St Petersburg, 193015

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