Re:Formers. International Contemporary Classics Festival's highlights

October 14, 2019

Re:Formers, the 2nd International Contemporary Classics Festival, will run in Moscow from 1 November till 5 December. The festival will be about integration of music with other arts, including literature and painting. The program includes concerts, performances and artistic workshops.

The venues will include the Grand Hall of Zaryadye Concert Hall, Rachmaninoff Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the International House of Music and the Scriabin Museum.

'Our original concept was to present rare classical music for rare instruments and at the same time establish more informal interaction with the audience at concerts. This year, we are going even further. We want to show all possible combinations of different types of arts, so we will have not only music/theatre, but also music/performance, music/painting, music/word and music/video,' organisers Maria Nemtsova and Vitaly Vatulya told us.

The festival will open with a concert 'From Miniature to the Monumental' by avant-garde pianist Margaret Leng Tan (Singapore). Leng Tan, John Cage's student and the first woman to earn a Doctorate at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (USA), focuses on playing American experimental music on toy instruments. In Moscow, the 'toy piano queen', as the press dubbed Leng Tan, will perform the 'Metamorphosis' series by George Crumb on a 51 cm high piano. The series was composed specially for Margaret Leng Tan. Each of the nine pieces features the composer's impressions of the works by Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, Vasily Kandinsky and other avant-garde artists.

On 24 November, the Scriabin Museum will host a music marathon. Starting from 03:00 pm, the Museum's concert hall will run a series of 50-minute concerts. The program includes rarely performed works, world and Russian premieres of new musical pieces. The marathon will open with a performance by pianist Maria Nemtsova and saxophonist Vitaly Vatulya. They will present the world premiere of the Saxophone and Piano Sonata by French composer and saxophonist Jean-Denis Michat. Vitaly Vatulya is also preparing a solo program with pieces by minimalist composers on saxophone with electronic accompaniment.

Singer Maria Ostroukhova (mezzo-soprano), accompanied by pianist Alexander Shaikin, will perform Olivier Messiaen's vocal series 'Harawi: Song of Love and Death'. Created in 1945, it is based on Peruvian folklore. The marathon will conclude with the duo performance of saxophonist Gordan Tudor and pianist Ivan Batoš (Croatia). They will play music  pieces by Croatian composers of the 20th century, rarely performed in Russia.

On 29 November, Zaryadye Concert Hall will host a concert and reading 'Joint Actions'. Writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya will read her unpublished stories and poems to the accompaniment of pianist Polina Osetinskaya. The writer's voice will have music from different eras and countries as a background — from Domenico Scarlatti and Johann Sebastian Bach to Leonid Desyatnikov and Aivar Kaleis.

The festival will finish on 5 December at the Moscow International House of Music with a big concert of the Musica Viva Moscow Chamber Ensemble conducted by Alexander Rudin. In the first part, the ensemble and guest soloist-violinist Boris Brovtsyn will perform Concerto No. 2 for violin and orchestra in C-sharp minor by Dmitry Shostakovich.

Two Russian premieres are to take place in the second part. First, Musica Viva, together with Serbian percussionist Nebojša Jovan Živković, will perform the Marimba and String Orchestra Concertino by Slovenian composer Slavko Šukliar. The Russian premiere of 'Cyber Bird', concert for saxophone, piano and percussion with orchestra, by the Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu will conclude the concert.  Vitaly Vatulya (saxophone), Maria Nemtsova (piano) and Rostislav Balchyunas (drums) will join the performance.

In addition to concerts, the organisers prepare an extensive insightful program for musicians. Many Re:Formers 2019 participants will share their know-hows with young performers. Among them are Margaret Leng Tan, Vitaly Vatulya, Goran Tudor and Nebojša Jovan Živković. Registration is required to join the master class.

Find detailed Re:Formers schedule on the website (in Russian)


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