The Moscow Easter Festival
Each year, this major Russian music forum brings together audiences in their thousands. Established in 2002 on the initiative of Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre Valery Gergiev and the Moscow City Government, the Moscow Easter Festival immediately won the love of the public. In 2003, with the support of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the festival was extended to the entire Russia.
From its very beginning, the Moscow Easter Festival set itself several social priorities, namely charity, education and enlightenment, which are achieved through all four festival programmes encompassing symphony music, chamber music, choral music and a bell-ringing week.
Since it was established, the Moscow Easter Festival has featured several thousand performers from across the globe, including world stars and young musicians – prize-winners at the Tchaikovsky Competition. The festival’s playbills have been adorned with the names of such singers as Anna Netrebko, Rene Pape, Natalie Dessay, Vladimir Galuzin, Albina Shagimuratova, Bryn Terfel, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Nina Stemme, Ildar and Oscar Abdrazakovy, as well as Olga Borodina, Mikhail Petrenko, Tatiana Serjan, Yevgeny Nikitin, Yulia Matochkina, Larisa Diadkova, Larisa Gogolevskaya, Vladislav Sulimsky, Stanislav Trofimov, Roman Burdenko, Alexander Mikhailov, Dmitry Grigoriev, Anastasia Kalagina and countless others soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre. The festival has featured performances by pianists Denis Matsuev, Nelson Freire, Mikhail Pletnev, Lang Lang, Vladimir Feltsman, Alexander Toradze, Yefim Bronfman, Behzod Abduraimov, Olli Mustonen, Alexey Volodin, Daniil Trifonov, Seong-Jin Cho, Sergey Babayan, Abisal Gergiev; violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Pavel Miliukov, Vadim Repin, Viktoria Mullova, Nikolaj Znaider, Leonidas Kavakos, Daniel Lozakovich, Alena Baeva, Kristóf Baráti, Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici, Roman Simović, Olga Volkova, Stanislav Izmailov; violists Yuri Bashmet and Yuri Afonkin; cellists Mischa Maisky, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Mario Brunello, Sergei Roldugin, Amanda Forsythe, Anexander Buzlov; harpist Sofia Kiprskaya and countless others musicians and ensembles.
The geographic reach of the Festival expands every year.
Today, the Festival covers 145 Russian cities and 5 countries
with its symphonic, choral, chamber and bell-ringing programs.
By 2018, the symphony music programme has visited 69 cities and 5 countries, namely Moscow, St. Petersburg, Almetyevsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Astrakhan, Arkhangelsk, Barnaul, Belgorod, Belomorsk, Bryansk, Veliky Novgorod, Vladivostok, Vladikavkaz, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Votkinsk, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk, Irkutsk, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kislovodsk, Kostroma, Klin, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Kursk, Lipetsk, Magnitogorsk, Murmansk, Nizhny-Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Novocherkassk, Omsk, Oryol, Orienburg, Penza, Pskov, Perm, Petrozavodsk, Rostov on Don, Rybinsk, Ryazan, Samara, Saratov, Saransk, Severomorsk, Smolensk, Sochi, Stavropol, Strezhevoy, Surgut, Tver, Tolyatti, Tomsk, Tula, Tyumen, Ufa, Ulyanovsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Khabarovsk, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets, Yakutsk and Yaroslavl as well as Kiev (Ukraine), Astana and Almaty (Kazakhstan), Minsk (Republic of Belarus), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Yerevan (Armenia).
By 2018, the choral programme has visited 67 Russian cities from the Black Sea coast with its Hero-City of Novorossiysk to the city of Anadyr, centre of the Chukotka Autonomous Region in the far North East of Russia. Owing to the collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church, religious choral music has been performed in functional churches. Ensembles from the CIS and other countries are actively involved in the choral programme.
Since it was established, the festival has revived interest in the art of Easter bell-ringing among wider audiences, annually attracting the finest Russian and international bell-ringers to Moscow. In 2002, for the first time since 1917, the historic centre of Moscow has revived the tradition of the series of chimes, moving from one church to the next. By 2018 the concerts of the bell-ringing programme have been given at over one hundred churches in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sergiev Posad, Veliky Novgorod, Zvenigorod, Istra, Kolomna, Ramenskoe, Rzhev, Rostov Veliky, Staritsa and the Solovki Islands.
By 2018, the participants of the festival’s chamber music programme, students of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers directed by Larisa Gergieva, have performed in 54 towns throughout the country, from Blagoveshchensk and Yakutsk to Murmansk, Gadzhiyevo and Salekhard. In 2017, the concerts of chamber programme with great success went for the first time in the Republic of Crimea: Yalta, Simferopol, and the hero-city of Sevastopol.
The festival’s charitable concerts at veterans’ homes, city hospitals and orphanages allow those who are unable to come to concert halls to see the performances by world stars. The concerts are also given in the children’s music schools.
Moreover, the Festival’s programme regularly includes events for students and lecturers at the Moscow State Lomonosov University. Since 2014, within the cooperation between the Moscow Easter Festival and the Russian Ministry of Defence, the festival’s charitable concerts for servicepersons and their families have taken place at officers’ clubs, military bases, military colleges and at the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army. The culminating point of the charitable programme of the Moscow Easter Festival comes with a free concert featuring the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. The concert, which annually brings together an audience of about 300 000 people, will traditionally take place on the Victory Day (May 9) on Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill.