musicAeterna history


In January, the “Byzantine Gifts” cultural and educational programme resumed with a lecture and discussion on architecture.

On January 22, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Three sonatas for violin and hammerklavier Op. 30 were played on period-correct instruments at Dom Radio.

On January 27, musicAeterna took part in the ceremony where the archive of the Leningrad radio siege-era recordings was transferred to the national archives. Following the official ceremony, the orchestra performed the first part of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 at Dom Radio.

© Alexandra Muravyeva

In February, the focus of “Byzantine Gifts” shifted towards painting. Dom Radio hosted a talk on the beauty and meaning of Byzantine icons, mosaics and frescoes, as well as a discussion titled “Visual art of Byzantium and neighbouring countries: parallels, influences or interpretations?”.

The recording of “Rex Tremendae” by musicAeterna’s resident composer Alexey Retinsky premiered on the musicAeterna digital platform on February 14.

The first symphony concerts of 2021 took place on February 22 – 23 at the Zaryadye concert hall in Moscow. Conducted by Teodor Currentzis, musicAeterna performed Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”, Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” and Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” suite.

The programme was repeated on March 1 at the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic.

March marked the beginning of a new Modern Audience Laboratory cycle commemorating Sergey Prokofiev’s 130th anniversary. The geography of the composer’s life was the focal point of two lectures — “Prokofiev in Saint Petersburg” by Joseph Raiskin and “Prokofiev’s Emigration: The Story of the Composer’s Work” by Elena Krivtsova.

On March 6, Alexey Retinsky’s album “Zero Point” was presented at Dom Radio. The recording consisted of four large-scale installation tracks which the composer had created while collaborating with European exhibitions, theatre productions and urban projects.

On March 12 and 13, Teodor Currentzis and the musicAeterna orchestra presented a new programme at the Zaryadye concert hall in Moscow: Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children”, Pärt’s “Psalm”, Lachenmann’s “…two feelings…”, Purcell’s “Chacony in G Minor”, Retinsky’s “Bride Song”, and von Biber’s “Battalia”.

In late March, Caravaggio’s “Lute Player” was displayed on the facade of Dom Radio in Saint Petersburg for three consecutive nights. Created in collaboration with the “XXI Century Hermitage” foundation as part of the “Museum 15/24” project, the performance was brought to life by Dmitri Mazurov’s original soundtrack played by musicAeterna.

On March 27 and 28, Alma Mater Foundation’s own “Conversations” theatre company presented a project which had been specifically created for the Dom Radio art space: “Judith”, a one-man performance set to lyrics by KLIM and directed by Boris Pavlovich.

“Trístis est ánima méa”, the musicAeterna choir’s first chamber programme of 2021, was presented on March 31 at Dom Radio. Conducted by Vitaliy Polonsky, the singers performed music by Poulenc and Gesualdo.

April 1 saw Andreas Moustoukis officially become the new musicAeterna resident composer. “The Revival”, a performance created specifically for Dom Radio, marked the beginning of the residency.

On April 2, composer and pianist Anton Batagov presented his new album, “The Invisible Lands”, at Dom Radio. A day later, he played Franz Schubert’s music there. Between the two performances, Anton Batagov and Teodor Currentzis gave a public talk at Dom Radio’s foyer.

The performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony by musicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis was released on CD and digital platforms on April 9.

The “Byzantine Gifts” cycle continued with four lectures titled “Ἁγία Παρθένη / The Holy Virgin Mary. Mariology in Byzantine and Russian medieval art”. The lectures were the result of a collaboration between musicAeterna and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory.

The Modern Audience Laboratory’s anniversary cycle was continued by Svetlana Petukhova and Svetlana Savenko’s lectures on Prokofiev’s chamber music and his relations with Stravinsky.

On April 18, the musicAeterna choir and the musicAeterna 4 ensemble presented Andreas Moustoukis’s first concert programme as the new resident composer: “The Liturgy of St. Leontiy” (world premiere) and “Gegenlicht”. The concert also included music by Andreas Kameris.

musicAeterna’s first post-lockdown European tour in Spain was a success. Mozart’s symphonies were performed at Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid and at Palau de la Música (Barcelona).

During the Holy Week, the musicAeterna and musicAeterna byzantina choirs sang Byzantine chants at the Feodorovsky Cathedral. The singers also performed music by old and contemporary composers, including works by Dom Radio residents Alexey Retinsky and Andreas Moustoukis.

“Intertitles”, a festival of foreign silent films, opened on April 27 at Dom Radio with “Eisenstein’s Visit to Holland” and “Found Again”. Members of the musicAeterna orchestra provided the music for the viewings.

The presentation and viewing of “Sweet Hans, Dear Peter”, a film by Alexander Mindadze, took place on May 13 as part of the collaboration between Dom Radio’s Cinema Laboratory and Lenfilm Studios.

On May 14 at Dom Radio, Andreas Moustoukis presented his concert programme called “Fuzz”, which included the Russian premieres of his works “Consumed”, “Fouzz”, “Va” and “Lost Highway”.

May 16 witnessed the end of the “Byzantine Gifts” cycle, which concluded with “Byzantium after Byzantium” — a roundtable discussion featuring Y. Mantova, S. Maltseva, A. Vinogradov, G. Vorobyov, I. Ivanov, D. Ozerkov and D. Chernoglazov.

Teodor Currentzis, musicAeterna and a cast of soloists headed to the Zaryadye concert hall on May 25 and 26 to perform L. Desyatnikov’s symphony “The Rite of Winter 1949” for the first time. The musicians also performed “Death and Transfiguration” by R. Strauss.

On May 27 (the day of Saint Petersburg’s foundation), a free self-contained audio tour route appeared on the izi.travel platform. Created during the Modern Audience Laboratory, the tour involved notable places in Saint Petersburg in relation to Tchaikovsky’s youth and early musical works.

On the same day, conductor Fyodor Lednyov received an award from the Saint Petersburg Administration for “outstanding achievements in musical performance”, including projects made in collaboration with the musicAeterna orchestra and choir.

Austrian composer Klaus Lang presented his master class on May 30 at Dom Radio. The event was intended for participants of the Composer Course at the reMusik.org 8th International Festival of Contemporary Music in Saint Petersburg.

June 3 witnessed the opening of a new space at Dom Radio: the gallery. “The Summer Exhibition”, a joint project by Aksenov Family Foundation and musicAeterna, ran from June 4 to June 20 and involved exhibitions of popular Russian and international contemporary artists, a series of public talks, and Artivive’s masterclass on creating objects in XR. Bill Viola’s works from the “Martyrs” cycle were presented as part of a special collaboration between musicAeterna and the Pushkin Museum.

On June 6, musicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis participated in the “Beethoven: Nine Symphonies, Nine Cities” online tour. The Seventh Symphony in Delphi was accompanied by a dance performance by Sasha Waltz & Guests.

J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and lullabies by composers from various eras were performed by Polina Osetinskaya on June 7 and 8 at Dom Radio.

On June 10 – 20, musicAeterna took part in the Diaghilev Festival. Leonid Desyatnikov’s “Rite of Winter 1949” and Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration” opened the festival. Over the course of 10 days, the musicians played 10 concerts including “Lux aeterna”, “In Memory of Paul Celan”, and “Mystery”.

During the second half of June, members of musicAeterna participated in the “Elizabethan Days of Mercy” programme which involved concerts at the Perm hospice for adults at City Hospital №10 and at the F.P. Gaaz Centre for children’s cancer and hematological treatment. Additionally, the musicians collaborated with the “Con-nection” foundation for the support of the visually and aurally impaired in order to play the first tactile concert in Russia.

On June 23, Dom Radio hosted Nanine Linning’s master class for 15 dancers, who would go on to work on their own dance project for musicAeterna.

The first season of the Cinema Laboratory and the second season at Dom Radio simultaneously concluded on July 1 with the Saint Petersburg premiere of Gleb Sereda’s film “The Kros”. Over 250 events had taken place at Dom Radio since September 2020, including 63 chamber concerts and performances, 32 educational meetings, 17 film viewings, a large exhibition, and numerous special occasions.

Members of musicAeterna spent their July in Salzburg. On July 21, the musicAeterna and musicAeterna byzantina choirs made their debut at the festival. The singers performed byzantine chants along with music by Hildegard von Bingen, György Ligeti, Alexey Retinsky and Andreas Moustoukis at Kollegienkirche.

On July 26, the main programme of the Salzburg festival was opened with the premiere of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, co-produced by Romeo Castellucci and Teodor Currentzis.

The first concert performance of August also took place in Salzburg. In the city of Mozart, the musicAeterna orchestra performed the composer’s final two symphonies under the baton of Teodor Currentzis. The festival’s audience also got to hear “The Sound of Light”, a programme of Rameau’s music.

The sixth and final performance of “Don Giovanni” happened on August 20.

The new season at Dom Radio is set to open on September 3 with Vadim Kholodenko’s concert.