The International Festival EARLYMUSIC celebrates its 20th anniversary. The first and the largest Russian festival that links Russian cultural space with European beginnings and presents baroque, renaissance, medieval and classic music performed authentically, was founded in 1998. The enthusiasts of old music - the baroque violinist Andrey Reshetin, Marc de Mauny and Elisabeth White (the director of the British Council in 1998-2001) created the enterprise that has changed the scene of musical world in the whole country.

The Festival EARLYMUSIC is organized with the support of the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg and under the auspices of the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.

During 20 years due to the festival EARLYMUSIC world musical art of the period up to XIX century has taken a worthwhile stand in Russian cultural field. Mostly due to regular workshops of the best European musicians, the performance of old music in Russia has developed from amateur to professional level. The research projects of the ensemble “Soloists of Catherine the Great”, founded by the festival EARLYMUSIC, have restored the image of Russian musical culture of the XVIII century, having replaced to the concert orbit the names of many undeservedly forgotten composers (Ivan Khandoshkin, Anton Tietz, Domenico Dall-Oglio, Luigi Madonis, Grigory Teplov, Ivan Zhernovik, etc.).

The educational programmes of the festival and of the ensemble “Soloists of Catherine the Great” have let to form in St. Petersburg a troupe of singing actors and musicians, that were capable to return to scene the forgotten opera repertoire of the Russian theatre of the XVIII century. Within the festival EARLYMUSIC the scenes of St. Petersburg, Moscow, other Russian and European cultural capitals have seen the first opera of Johann Mattheson based on a Russian story – “Boris Godunov” (1710), the first Russian opera by Francesco Araja – by the text of Alexander Sumarokov “Céphale et Procris” (1755), the space opera based on the libretto of Catherine II and on music of Vicente Martin y Soler “The Unfortunate Hero Kosmetovich” (1789).

In 2017 the festival EARLYMUSIC presents to Russia and to the world the first Russian baroque ballet. On 1 October in the Hermitage Theatre there will be a premiere ballet-allegory “Union of Wind and Sea” based on music of the Swedish courtier Kapellmeister Johan Helmich Roman, that was written in 1728 by order of the Russian ambassador in Stockholm, the count Nikolay Golovin, for the ballet in honor of coronation of the young tsar Peter II. The choreographer Jean-Baptiste Lande, invited in 1734 by the empress Anna Ioannovna, to rule the Petersburg ballet academy, in those years was the courtier choreographer in Stockholm and, very likely, took part in creating dances for the oncoming Russian ballet. History did not save the traces of its performance in St. Petersburg.

Perhaps, due to the festival EARLYMUSIC the dance suite of Johan Ruman will see the Russian stage for which it was created 300 years ago, for the first time. The author of libretto and the artistic director – Berliner Klaus Abromeit. Dancing troupe – the ensemble “Angiolini Baroque Balet” fostered by Klaus Abromeit for ten years of cooperation with the Petersburg festival. The music will be performed by the ensemble “Soloists of Catherine the Great” conducted by Andrey Reshetin. Costumes are made by the Petersburg designer Liliya Kiselenko.

The anniversary concerts of the festival EARLYMUSIC will turn back the clock. The famous counter-tenor Michael Chance will walk out on the stage of the State Academic Chapel 20 years after his Petersburg debut. On 23 October he will perform along with the soprano singer Deborah York and the brilliant baroque harpist Andrew Lawrence-King. The first festival EARLYMUSIC in 1998 was dedicated to English baroque music and the anniversary concert of British authentic stars will be the exact rhyme to their Russian triumph 20 years before.

Celebrating its own anniversary, the festival doesn’t forget about its companions. On 21 October the Derzhavin Estate Museum will host the anniversary concert of famous founders, graduates and teachers of the Department of historical and modern performance of the Moscow State Conservatoire: it was also founded 20 years ago.

Besides, on 22 October, the concert will be dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the foremost poet of the XVIII century Alexander Sumarokov, that will take place in the Pushkin House. The programme includes the scenes of the operas based on Sumarokov’s librettos “Céphale et Procris” by Francesco Araja and “Alceste” by Hermann Raupach, and his songs set to music of the senator Grigory Teplov.

The Western stars that participate in the EARLYMUSIC-2017 are well known to the Petersburg audience with one important exception. No matter what will perform the great master of the viol da gamba Paolo Pandolfo (21 October, Derzhavin Estate Museum), no matter what programme will bring the Italian ensemble of medieval music Mala Punica (6 October, Minor Hall of the Philharmonic) – everything will sound like an incredible, stunning discovery that opens wide the doors into new musical worlds. The festival will finish with a debut – on 31 October the French baroque quartette Nevermind will perform in Russia for the first time.


01 - 31 October 
Full guide and details about academic and research conferences are available on the website www.earlymusic.ru