The international new music festival “Sound Waves” passed its 30th anniversary last year. Following the traditions of our concert programs dating back to 1989, we attentively follow innovations of the 21st century.

In keeping with our tradition the festival features many premieres, including 35 world premieres, with 16 Russian. They will be presented by Moscow Ensemble of Contemporary Music (MASM), Danish Rudersdal Chamber Players, German International Music Ensemble Augsburg, as well as St. Petersburg musicians.

Several festival concerts are dedicated to the birthdays of composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. We are celebrating the 85th birthday of Alfred Schnittke, the 90th birthday of Edison Denisov, the 100th birthday of Galina Ustvolskaya, and the 90th birthday of living American composer George Crumb, who visited our festival in 199. One of the concerts will feature music dedicated to Mikhail Bialik, the legendary St. Petersburg music critic, who is turning 90 as well. Boris Tishchenko’s Piano Sonata No.6 and Valery Arzoumanov’s Preludes and Fugues, both dedicated to Mikhail Bialik, will be performed on November 22 at the Composers’ House.

A special project entitled “The Love to Three Women Without a Shadow” is dedicated to memorable events in the music history. Starting 2003, we traditionally invite several composers to write special compositions based on their free interpretation of a well-known plot. The 100th anniversary of Prokofiev “The Love of Three Oranges” and R. Strauss “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” gave us an idea to ask composers create their piano pieces inspired by these operas.
Acclaimed St. Petersburg composer Svetlana Lavrova and emerging artist Valeria Kukhta created their compositions for “Trash-project”, a multimedia installation presented by Videoartists in collaboration with ensemble {instead}. Other compositions on the program include music by Alexander Manotskov and {instead} artistic director Oleg Gudachiov. Among other ensembles performing on the festival are “Sound Ways”, Mariinsky New Music Ensemble and ensemble MolOt. St. Petersburg Content Ensemble will make its first appearance.

This newly formed Content ensemble will present a unique program called Poetry Reverse. Its idea is focused around the madrigal, a form that reached the apex during the Renaissance. The etymology of the word is rooted in the word “maternal” (matricale), meaning “composition written on the mother tongue”. Among the most famous composer of madrigals is Gesualdo di Venosa (1566-1613), who wrote his music based on poetry by Tasso or by Gesualdo himself. Michael Phinnissy in his piece Gesualdo: Libro Sesto interpreted the same texts using his own musical language, where Salvatore Sciarrino wrote a cycle “Madrigals” (2007) with a poetry by a Japanese author Basio. One of the movements of George Ligeti’s Nonsense Madrigals (1993) is called “The Alphabet”, another take on the idea of a mother tongue. 25-year old Sergei Leonov from St. Petersburg wrote his unique composition using gamers’ comments posted on Reddit. This concert will take place at St. Stanislav Catholic Church of Kolomna.

Two concerts will take place at Malyi Philharmonic Hall. On November 18th St. Petersburg musicians under the baton of Arkadiy Steinlukht will perform my “Alpen Requiem” and Monologues after Sasha Sokolov “School for Fools” by Anatoly Koroliov. On November 23 Moscow Ensemble of Contemporary Music (MASM) will present a program Vortex Temporum consisting of compositions by Denissov, Lachenmann, Sciarrino, Zinsttag, and Grisey.

The main concert stage of the festival will be the concert hall of Composers House. There, on November 17th the festival’s opening night will start with a concert-marathon. The marathon will begin with music by Alexander Nesterov, a talented composer, and long time president of St. Petersburg Music Fund. Mr. Nesterov was one of the true supporters and contributors of our festival before his passing in August of this year. On many occasions I offered to include his music in our festival, but he would always dismiss the offer with self-deprecating humor. This year, the concert In memory of my dear friend will open the festival “Sound Ways”. His archive contains numerous manuscripts, their performance is hopefully in the new future.
Join us!

Alexander Radvilovich, Artistic director