The Cultural Capital arts festival is presented in Saint Petersburg


A large-scale art project, the Cultural Capital arts festival, has been presented in Saint Petersburg. The festival has been organized by the Nevsky 24 art gallery in Saint Petersburg and the Baikal XL festival center in Irkutsk with support from the administration of Irkutsk and EuroSibEnergo, the largest private power company.

As part of presentation of the festival, artists and performers from Irkutsk presented a unique art project launched in the capital of Eastern Siberia which helped establish strong cultural ties between the two cities, demonstrating a high level of the culture of Irkutsk and its variety to the people of Saint Petersburg. Thus, on October 31, the Stepnye Napevy (Tunes of the Steppe) song and dance ensemble gave a concert at the House of Nationalities, presenting the folklore of the Buryat people from the Baikal region. A musical band, Dekadans-Kvartet i Anna Klimashevskaya, impressed the audience with a powerful and moving performance of songs written by Alexander Vertinsky. The first day of the presentation program concluded with a performance by the Hippy-party band, whose style can be described as being on the borderline between jazz and rock-and-roll.

The classical music section was presented on November 2 in a concert hall of a music school affiliated with the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, where the ensemble of soloists from the Governor’s Symphony Orchestra of the Irkutsk Regional Philharmonic Society conducted by Ilmar Lapinsh, a distinguished conductor of Russia, gave a chamber music concert.

In addition, a photographic exhibition “Lomoportatsiya. Novaya Magistral” (“Lomoportation. A New Route”) was presented to the citizens of Saint Petersburg; it is a joint project of photographers from Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg working in the lomographic genre. The exhibition was first shown in June in Irkutsk as part of the Cultural Capital festival. In Saint Petersburg the exhibition is hosted by the House of Nationalities and will continue until November 7. The presentation of the festival will conclude with a concert at the Nevsky 24 art gallery on November 7, where the organizers of the project will give an overview of the event and outline plans for 2015.

This autumn’s visit of art groups from Irkutsk to Saint Petersburg was merely an introductory event. Next year its organizers intend to hold the festival in the city on the Neva River on a full-scale basis; it will comprise the most prominent and interesting art projects from Irkutsk.

We would like to remind that in June this year, the Cultural Capital festival was presented to the people of Irkutsk for the first time. The program of the festival included an exhibition of paintings by a famous art group Mitki; retrospective screenings of the best works entered for competition in Erarta Motion Pictures, an international festival of short films about painting; exhibitions, installations and workshops by the most prominent representatives of the Saint Petersburg school of lomography and video art; street performances of the Cardboardia community. The musical part of the festival included a performance by the Horn Orchestra of Russia and a concert featuring Surganova i Orkestr and Torba-na-Kruche, rock groups from Saint Petersburg. The festival became one of the major cultural events of the year and evoked a positive response from the citizens of Irkutsk.


Viktor Kondrashov, Mayor of Irkutsk:

“The last four years saw the start of fine traditions in Irkutsk. The phrase ‘Irkutsk has been the first city in Russia to …’ have been repeated time and again during these years. We come up with things that no-one has ever done before. This is how this festival was created; and now it has already extended its footprint beyond Irkutsk and is currently being presented in Saint Petersburg. We want it to become an annual event, to attract an ever-growing number of participants and eventually to become a larger event to be held on the national level: the Baikal Cultural Forum.”

Andrey Shvaykin, Public Relations Director of OJSC EuroSibEnergo:

“By implementing the Cultural Capital project, we not only create a new cultural layer in a new country, but also seek to revive the traditions of accessible art that unites people. Lake Baikal, on the shores of which the concept of the festival has been developed, is precisely the thing that can become a link connecting the east and the west, providing a unique creative space. Therefore, our company will continue to promote the project and make every effort to support its existence and development.”

Anatoly Boroznenko, head of the Baikal XL festival center in Irkutsk:

“What is unique about our festival is the fact that it has no strictly defined format or focus. We provide a platform for various people: musicians, artists and authors. Our key criteria include originality, a high level and the project’s ability to attract interest. Next year, along with serious cultural projects, we also plan to pay considerable attention to children’s art, which will further widen the scope of our festival.”

Ilmar Lapinsh, artistic director and principal conductor of the Governor’s Symphony Orchestra:

“I think that the Cultural Capital is a unique event which raises great hopes. I am glad that there are people in Irkutsk who are concerned about the reputation and culture of the Angara Region. People from other cities now have a better understanding and are more willing to accept the image of our city as a cultural capital of Eastern Siberia.”

Anna Klimashevskaya, member of the Dekadans-Kvartet i Anna Klimashevskaya band:

“We greatly enjoyed participating in the festival. At first, we doubted whether we as performers of songs by Vertinsky would fit in with ethnical music with its distinctive flavor and rock music with its expressiveness. But in the end all our doubts and concerns vanished. As soon as we went on stage, our fear of eclecticism was dispelled completely; the audience responded very enthusiastically and positively. Everything turns out to be possible and appropriate if a project is based on the idea of friendship, unity and love, an idea that is so simple but which has been forgotten in our challenging times. We are truly grateful to the organizers of the festival and all of its participants for their joint efforts that have made possible a real big celebration!”

For information

The Cultural Capital festival is a unique and atmospheric celebration of modern urban art showcasing the most impressive achievements of cities such as Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg in the social and cultural sphere.

The Cultural Capital festival has been organized by the Baikal XL festival center in Irkutsk and the Nevsky 24 art gallery in Saint Petersburg with support from the administration of Irkutsk and EuroSibEnergo, the largest private power company. Key objectives of the festival include enabling ongoing cultural exchange, promoting Saint Petersburg’s sophisticated culture in eastern regions of the country, maintaining the status of Irkutsk as a unique historic center of Russian culture in Siberia and the Far East. The festival is also aimed at creating a favorable environment for developing creative initiatives of all generations, facilitating professional communication, establishing partnerships and launching joint art projects.

Press service of the Cultural Capital festival

November 06, 2014
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