The horn orchestra to give a performance in Irkutsk

The Horn Orchestra of Russia will give a performance as part of the Cultural Capital arts festival, which is held with personal support from the Governor of the Irkutsk Region Sergey Levchenko and with assistance from EuroSibEnergo, Russia's largest private power company. The festival is organized by the Government of the Irkutsk Region and the Baikal Totem festival center in Irkutsk.

Musicians in the Horn Orchestra of Russia play instruments whose design is based on that of hunting horns that huntsmen used in the past in order to drive animals out of their burrows and dens. The idea of using hunting horns as a musical instrument first occurred to Count Naryshkin in 1751. Horn orchestras rapidly gained in popularity, and in the 18th and 19th century they were a regular feature of any official function, be it the coronation of an emperor or a reception for a foreign delegation.

One horn can only produce one note. While a pianist or a guitarist can play dozens of notes per minute by moving their fingers, in a horn orchestra this can only be done by dozens of musicians playing together. An error made by one musician can ruin the entire performance. To play in a horn orchestra requires arduous work, which is why such orchestras were comprised of serf musicians and existed only in Russia. Foreigners viewed them as one of the symbols of our country along with Russian dolls and samovars. Following the abolition of serfdom in Russia, horn orchestras ceased to exist as well. The attempt to revive them was made once, at the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, but then this old artistic tradition was forgotten. At present, Sergey Polyanichko, a musician from Saint Petersburg, is working to revive it. He has made replicas of instruments deposited in a museum; he has found old scores and has selected musicians who had specialized in wind instruments at the conservatory.

This will be the second performance of the Horn Orchestra of Russia at the Cultural Capital arts festival in Irkutsk; the orchestra first visited the regional capital in 2014. This year, the orchestra from Saint Petersburg will give two concerts. The first one will be held on June 23 in the concert hall of the Irkutsk Regional Philharmonic Society. The second concert will take place on June 24 in the open air on the bank of the Angara. This will be a joint performance with the Governor’s Symphony Orchestra. "The orchestra first visited our city two years ago as part of the first Cultural Capital arts festival," said Andrey Shvaykin, supervisor of JSC EuroSibEnergo's social projects and one of the initiators of the festival. "The concert made a profound impression on the audience. It was then that we came up with the idea of developing a joint program for the two orchestras from Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg. This year, we are ready to present this project to the citizens of Irkutsk and visitors to the city." Admission to the events is free.



The Cultural Capital arts festival was initiated in 2014 by JSC EuroSibEnergo and the Baikal Totem festival center in Irkutsk. Starting from 2016, the festival is held with personal support from the Governor of the Irkutsk Region, with the regional government acting as a co-organizer of the festival. Every year, the program of the festival features original and unique art projects from Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Novosibirsk and other cities that have never been presented in Irkutsk before. Key objectives of the festival include facilitating cultural exchange and promoting modern Russian culture in eastern regions of the country. The festival is also aimed at creating a favorable environment for developing creative initiatives, establishing partnerships and launching joint art projects.

Sergey Levchenko, Governor of the Irkutsk Region: "The Irkutsk Region has an enormous artistic potential. We should facilitate the creation of an environment conducive to initiation and development of art projects. I believe that enhancement of the status of Irkutsk as a unique historic center of Russian culture in Siberia and the Far East is a worthy goal."

Vyacheslav Solomin, CEO of OJSC EuroSibEnergo: "Projects such as the Cultural Capital offer every citizen an opportunity to become part of a great cultural tradition of our country. This is our vision, and this is a huge and demanding task for the government. It involves creating a new and favorable environment that is stimulating and helps to make a difference."


Press service of the festival

June 10, 2016
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