St. Petersburg-Khazakstan-Izevsk


History of Music Bridges International, Inc.

As part of the June 2004 St. Petersburg Musical Spring Festival, Yuval Waldman, the Russian-American violinist and conductor, was asked to play a program of new music by American and Russian composers at the St. Petersburg Composers’ Union. The critically acclaimed concert featured violin solos by American composers Stephen Perillo and Susan Kander and Russia’s Grigori Korchmar, as well as string quartets by Perillo and Andrei Petrov, which Waldman performed with members of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.

Waldman also conducted the orchestra in new works by Perillo and Murray Hidary. The concert was accompanied by several educational events, including a symposium on American and Russian music involving composers and performers from both countries.
Waldman also delivered a lecture on American music at the St. Petersburg branch of New York’s Bard College, collaborated on a new recording by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and even organized a photo exhibit of Hidary’s work for the Nabokov Museum.

The following May, Waldman brought Russian and American musicians together in New York, where they gave the New York premiere of the new Russian and American pieces. The newspaper Cultural St. Petersburg published an extensive interview with Waldman about these events and expressed interest in partnering with Waldman on similar festivals.

St. Petersburg (top)

Photos - (top center) Yuval Waldman and Susan Kander in St. Petersburg, 2004 (center left) Steve Perillo in St. Petersburg, June, 2004 (center right) Grigori Korchmar

Waldman, who thinks of himself as a “musical missionary,” had long hoped to start an organization that would bring the people of different nations together through music. His experience in St. Petersburg provided the template for the activities of Music Bridges International, which was founded in 2005 to sponsor bilateral and multilateral international music exchanges. Under Waldman’s leadership, Bridges sponsors bilateral music festivals that feature concerts, educational events (lectures and symposia), recordings, master classes and international student-faculty exchanges, all in partnership with educational institutions and media. Bridges events feature the works of composers from both countries, with a particular emphasis on exposing audiences to new compositions.

Khazakstan (top)

Music Bridges, Almaty, Kazakstan, April 2006. Yuval Waldman conducts "Camerata Khazakstan"
Music Bridges, Almaty, Kazakstan
Yuval Waldman with Erulan Kanapyanov,
a prominant Kazakh composer
  Almaty, Kazakstan, April 2006
Yuval Waldman in a ceremonial Kazakh Costume, presented to him following a concert in Almaty
During 2005-06, Bridges sponsored a similar exchange with the Republic of Kazakhstan. It began at New York’s Merkin Hall, where Bridges, the Kazakh Cultural Ministry and the country’s United Nations delegation presented a gala concert featuring Kazakh soloists and the New American Chamber Orchestra under Waldman’s baton. The following spring, Waldman gave concerts in the major cities of Kazakhstan, where he played and conducted American and Kazhak music to great acclaim and introduced Kazakhstan’s first-ever performance exclusively devoted to Jewish music.
Yuval Waldman with Dussen Kasseinov, from Khazakstan
  Izevsk Cometition, Members from the International Jury
The contestants with Yuval Waldman.
N. Utkina, Executive Director
V. Balakin, Mayor Izevsk
Second Prize Winner
Erosinya Yefmova, 12 yrs.old, from Yakutia
Tchaichovsky Homeland Competition

Yuval Waldman with
Yo Chin Chang, Grand Prix Winner, South Korea
Rustem Monasypov, Kazan, Russia

Bridges has developed an ongoing relationship with the fledgling Tchaikovsky Cultural Center in Izhevsk/Votkinsk, Russia (the composer’s birthplace). It co-sponsored the first Tchaikovsky’s Homeland Youth Instrumental Competition in November 2006. 45 young string players from nine countries competed before an international jury of distinguished artists and teachers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Germany, Israel and the United States.

In keeping with the Bridges model, the jury members gave master classes and Waldman delivered a series of lectures at East European International University in Izhevsk. He also presented recitals and conducted orchestral and choral concerts in which Russian musicians, professional and amateur, performed American musical masterpieces. Bridges also donated an extensive library of chamber, vocal and orchestral music to the Center. It will co-sponsor the next Youth Instrumental Competition in 2008.

Bridges continues to expand its activity to new countries. It is presently negotiating exchanges with Switzerland, the Czech Republic, China and Finland. Bridges is also co-sponsoring a proposed student exchange that would bring students from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Old Dominion University this summer.

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