Imperial Conservatory of Music - Experience Russia's Greatest Talents

Even though they are centuries old, you still do not have to travel far today to find someone who has heard of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazanov and Rachmaninov. These excellent Russian composers immortalized their names during the 1900s when Russia was experiencing a ‘Silver Age’ of music. Because the country's influences were somewhat different from the west and other parts of Europe, their musical style was distinctively different. This is a legacy which they still enjoy today and which continues to shape the face of Russian Music.

One of the best places to go if you enjoy learning about Russian music is the Imperial Conservatory of Music. Situated near the famous Marrinski Theatre, this magnificent building was dedicated to the excellent musical accomplishments that Russia enjoyed during the 1900s. The Imperial Conservatory of Music was designed to showcase the nation's most brilliant musicians and composers and was, at one stage, home to the legendary composers mentioned above as well as many more which are not mentioned.

Russians have always been a musical nation and even though their music is by and large very different from other parts of the world, it has always influenced the lives of the people. The earliest musical influences came from Byzantium and Greece, much like the religious icons which are still used today. However, as soon as it reached Russia, it was embraced by her people and it changed to reflect the various aspects of their culture. Between the 11th and 13th century, it was largely a religious affair with many church songbooks being carefully compiled for use in churches. By the 16th century, Russia had entered a Golden Age of music when songbooks written in the now undecipherable neume musical alphabet abounded. In the late 17th century, the country was exposed to western notation and it began to be influenced by the music brought with the Poles, Ukrainians and Italians who came to the country for a variety of reasons.

By the 19th century, music was everywhere in Russia. It was sung and played in both the highest and lowest echelons of society – from the richest palaces to the poorest homes. It was the music of the people and it was a large part of the country’s cultural identity. So, despite westernization and efforts by the government to rip this musical heritage from the fabric of time, it has survived largely unmarred. A visit to the Imperial Conservatory of Music will help introduce you to this delightful, musical world and bring it closer to your heart and should be a part of every visit to St Petersburg.


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