Presentation of a Concept of the Concert Hall of the Sverdlovsk Philarmonic Society and Plenary Session of the 'Music' Section

On November 15, the architectural-artistic concept of the Concert Hall for the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Society to be built in Yekaterinburg by 2023 was presented in the General Staff Building of the Hermitage Museum. The presentation was followed by the plenary meeting of the section 'Music' chaired by Denis Matsuev, Head of the section.

The presentation of the architectural-artistic concept of the Concert Hall of the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Society was attended by Evgeny Kuivashev, Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region; Denis Matsuev, Head of the Section 'Music', pianist; Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director  and Director of the Mariinsky Theatre; Christos Passas, Executive Director of Zaha Hadid Architects (USA).

'The Sverdlovsk Region is an industrial region with a high level pf business and public activities, but it's one of cultural centres of our country as well. The Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Society is a pride of the Urals.

The Commission that was to select the winner chose the project that actually reflects the Ural nature, diversity of the Ural lands. In 2023 Yekaterinburg turns 300, and we arranged the work so that we could enjoy the sounds of music of the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating the 300th anniversary of the city,' Evgeny Kuivashev said.

'I've seen the project and I'm so glad that Russia is getting such a brilliant prospect,' Valery Gergiev noted. 'Yekaterinburg has proved its right to be called a capital for decades, and not a capital of the region only. Yekaterinburg is not just the largest industrial and manufacturing centre, but a large-scale cultural centre as well'.

Denis Matsuev who was one of judges at the contest, highlighted the important role that Alexander Kolotursky, Director of the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Society, played in development of the institution.

'It's a great honor for me to be a part if this striking project. What Alexander Nikolaevich Kolotursky has done over the recent years is a truly unique phenomenon. Philharmonic posters, traditions, the public, sacred attitude and the atmosphere of these concerts are unique,' Denis Matsuev said.

The open international contest for design of the architectural-artistic concept of the Concert Hall of the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Society was announced in spring 2018. 47 leading architectural bureaus from Russia and other countries applied for the contest. The concept designed by world renowned Zaha Hadid Architects architectural bureau (Great Britain) won the contest.

According to the project of the British bureau, the Concert Hall will be the public space with two concert halls, its own park and an unusual wave-shaped roof. The winning project is a unique cultural object for Russia that demonstrates the highest world-class level of architecture and a conceptual approach to activity of the cultural establishment.

Project Manager Christos Passas told how the concept was being designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and shared some special features of future concert halls — the great and the chamber ones.

'Cultural projects have always been our priority. Architecture should enable cultural development, in the urban environment in particular. We analyzed peculiarities of Yekaterinburg, made a list of major monuments and landmarks that were important in the region. We decided to create the project that could highlight existing landmarks while looking forward at the same time.

The Great Hall features round design: the audience is seated around the orchestra, so that music is created right in front of people. The borders between performers and the public are blurred, which makes the atmosphere even more intimate and enables further success of concerts in the hall. The Chamber Hall will be notable for large windows behind the stage facing the Winter Garden, so that the public could enjoy a change of seasons,' Christos Passas said.

Plenary session of the Section 'Music' was dedicated to the main topic of the section this year: 'International Music Industries — Current Trends'. The discussion was attended by Denis Matsuev, Valery Gergiev, Aleksey Shalashov, President of the Union of Concert Organizations of Russia; Mark Pemberton, Director of the Association of British Orchestras (UK); Mark Grandmontan, Director General of the German Theatre and Concert Association (Germany), and other experts.

Denis Matsuev reminded of the importance of music lessons in general education schools and musical development of young people in general.

'I somehow shudder from all these terms — 'industry' or 'classical art promotion', but we all fully recognize that classical music is the breadth of life in every corner of the world,' Denis Matsuev emphasized. 'I'm strongly convinced that any child should get to know notes as well as figures and letters. No matter whether a child will continue studying music — it's always for the best.'

Valery Gergiev drew attention of participants to the problem of 'cultural poverty' — the fact that prime examples of culture and arts are unavailable for the greatest part of the population of the planet.

'I'm fully committed to the idea of filling both our country and the global space all across the world with high and noble art of great masters. Illimitable wealth has been accumulated. Today's global problems are not about poverty, a lack of fresh water, competent medical aid or climate changes only. We think and hear about it every day, but the problem of cultural poverty must be solved.  Many cities lack not only good concert halls or theatres, they don't even have chamber orchestras,' Valery Gergiev noted.

Mark Pemberton emphasized the importance of connections between British and Russian organizations involved in classical music.

'Russian orchestras, concert halls and other music organizations receive financial support from the state. We can see similar tendencies in Great Britain. We also note how important it is not to lose music education in general schools, because it provides us new audience and allows bringing up new talented musicians,' Mark Pemberton said.