This is often partly a matter of PR, which is not at all blameworthy. For this reason, philanthropy is all the more exciting on the part of an ensemble which does not need any additional publicity, like the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under a finest Russian conductor and a man of utmost modesty, Vladimir Fedoseyev.

Some 15 years ago, when concert halls in Russia were only half full, and the intelligentsia – the chief audience of classical music – barely made ends meet, the orchestra organised public charity subscriptions at the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, which became a true relief to music lovers. Since then, the philanthropy by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra has never ceased.

This season, the ensemble continued and advanced its enlightenment activity. In early September Fedoseyev gave a master class to young conductors – for free, in contrast to analogous actions worldwide. The participants were absolutely happy to conduct the prominent orchestra, while the Maestro complained of their educational gaps: in his opinion, the young generation is too infatuated with their own view of a musical piece and does not try to analyse and unravel the composer’s intention.

Two weeks later, the orchestra’s musicians gave a master class to Brazilian children. The poverty-stricken ‘favela’ district of Sao Paulo has a wonderful musical school for children from poor families, the Baccarelli Institute, financed from private donations. The costs are very substantial: a large building accommodating 700 pupils, a bulk of highly expensive instruments, and the high-priced services of numerous teachers from around the world. Brazil, yet, has a very reasonable legislation promoting private charity which results in quite a number of patrons of art there.

Master classes at the Baccarelli Insitute have long become traditional: among the musicians brought there by Brazil’s largest producing centre Mozarteum Brasileiro were Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, famous flautist Sir James Galway, eminent cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and outstanding violinist Shlomo Mintz. The pupils welcomed the Russian ensemble with a presentation of the first part of Symphony No5 by Tchaikovsky – and if the performance was not perfect, it still displayed enormous love of music and full devotion. The orchestra’s quartet replied with a nocturne from the Second Quartet by Borodin, and this signified a full-fledged fruitful dialogue. Mastery, experience and training, on the one part, and the fervent striving to absorb and adopt it, on the other. The same day the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Symphony No7 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No5. Professors and students, together with all music lovers who gathered in the concert hall, stood up applauding to Fedoseyev and his ensemble that had to play three encores.
Let’s hope that our country, which is rich not only with oil and gas, but with its culture, people and traditions as well, will see a revived spirit of moral truth and aspiration to things beautiful and immortal  - those which are beyond fashion and vogue.

Dmitry Rafaeliants

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