International forum ‘Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). A Re-Discovery’ to take place in Moscow

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Three opera premieres

Three chamber music concerts, including world premieres

Four round-table discussions

Six talkings with production teams’ members

Special guests: David Pountney and Zofia Posmysz

Academic conference featuring 40 musicians and musicologists from eight countries

An international forum ‘Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). A Re-Discovery’ will be hosted by the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia and the State Institute for Art Studies on 16-19 February 2017.


The Bolshoi Theatre of Russia

Muzykal’noye Obozrenie (Musical Review) national newspaper


The State Institute for Art Studies

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw

The Mariinsky Theatre

The Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre

The Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow

With support of:

Goethe-Institut Moscow

The Embassy of the State of Israel in Moscow

The Embassy of Poland in Moscow

Polish Cultural Center in Moscow

Peermusic Classical

Dmitri Shostakovich Publishers (DSCH) (or the Shostakovich Foundation)

‘Art Studies: Science, Practice, Education’ Foundation

Association of Music Critics

Media Partners:

VGTRK Russia-K

Muzykal’noye Obozrenie (Musical Review) national newspaper

The recent surge of interest in the legacy of the Soviet-Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg (8 December 1919 – 26 February 1996) is one of the most extraordinary trends in today’s musical life. The 21st century has seen an unprecedented re-actualization of Weinberg’s music starting in Europe and America. His operas are staged all around the world (The Passenger in Bregenz, Warsaw, Leeds, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, New York, Detroit, Houston, Miami and Chicago; The Portrait and The Idiot in Europe); his symphonies and chamber compositions are performed; his music is released by Naxos, Chandos, CPO and other global labels. Weinberg’s music enters the repertoire of the most eminent conductors, orchestras and soloists:Vladimir Jurowski, Martha Argerich, András Schiff, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, David Geringas, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danel Quartet and others.

Weinberg’s present-day relevance in underpinned by a number of reasons. First of all, there is his dramatic biography. Second, the his recurring subjects – war, antifascism and antitotalitarianism – are ever vital. Third, his music combines Polish, Jewish and Romanian traditions and unites Soviet and European (Austrian-German) aesthetics. Finally, the musicians are attracted by his diversity of genre, which includes operas, symphonies, concertos, quartets, chamber pieces; compositions for piano, violin, cello, flute, trumpet and other instruments; incidental music, film soundtracks, music for radio, for circus and so on.

The re-discovery of Weinberg has recently been supported by Russian musicians. Starting from 2016 four top opera houses of Russia are adding Weinberg’s operas into their repertoire. July 2016 saw a production of The Idiot at the Mariinsky Theatre, in September 2016 The Passenger at the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre became this opera’s first stage version in Russia, The Passenger at the Novaya Opera is scheduled for January 2017, and The Idiot at the Bolshoi Theatre will premiere in February 2017. In Russian music theatre there have never been another example of a composer of the late 20th century invading every stage at the same time.

‘Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). A Re-Discovery’ forum took two years of preparation and required joint efforts of several Russian musical institutions, including the Bolshoi Theatre and Muzykal’noye Obozrenie newspaper, the latter being the source of many ideas and initiatives.

The concept of the forum emerged as Muzykal’noye Obozrenie and its editor-in-chief Andrei Ustinov, curator and artistic director of the project, were preparing the premiere of The Passenger at the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre. The premiere was preceded by many months of research and generating unique information content related to Mieczysław Weinberg, his life, his  works and his world. The content grew more and more detailed and profound and gained new ideas, meanings and facts, thanks to the efforts of the authors and editors of Muzykal’noye Obozrenie in the first place.

During the international conference ‘Russia – Poland: a Musical Dialogue’ at a meeting at the Bolshoi Theatre an official protocol masterminded by Muzykal’noye Obozrenie was signed; it concerned the Weinberg forum to be held in Moscow, at the Bolshoi Theatre and the State Institute for Art Studies, was signed. The protocol was signed by the General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre Vladimir Urin, the editor-in-chief of Muzykal’noye Obozrenie Andrei Ustinov, the director of the State Institute for Art Studies Natalya Sipovskaya, the director of the Ekaterinburg opera and ballet theatre Andrey Shishkin and a representative of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw Alexander Laskowski.

The date for the forum, February 2017, was chosen because it is the time of the first run of The Idiot at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The idea of a forum to sum up and multiply all the currents of today’s Russian and foreign Weinberg wave proved to be extremely fruitful. The organizers’ initiative resonated with global trends. As a result they brought to life Russia’s greatest event dedicated to the exhaustive research of the legacy of one of the major musicians of the 20th century. The project was joined by Russia’s leading academic, cultural and artistic institutions: four opera houses, the Moscow Association of Music Critics, Dmitry Shostakovich Publishers (DSCH), the Shostakovich Foundation, the ‘Art Studies: Science, Practice, Education’ Foundation, the State Institute for Art Studies and Russian television network.

Following the suggestion of Muzykal’noye Obozrenie and the Bolshoi Theatre, the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre combined its participation in the Golden Mask Festival (Bizet’s Carmen and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the Stanislavsky Music Theatre) and in the forum (The Passenger on the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre).

The organizers allured a number of international institutions to join the project, including the Embassy of and the State of Israel in Russia, the Embassy of Poland in Moscow, the Polish Cultural Center in Moscow, Goethe-Institute Moscow, Peermusic Classical GmbH, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

The forum presents a variety of musical and academic events.

The program includes three productions of Weinberg’s operas: The Idiot (the Bolshoi Theatre) and The Passenger (the Ekaterinburg Opera and the Novaya Opera). The talkings with the production team members are arranged (the director of The Idiot Evgeny Arye and the musical director and conductor Michał Klauza; the director and set designer of The Passenger at the Ekaterinburg Opera Thaddeus Strassberger and the costume designer Vita Tsykun; the director of The Passenger at the Novaya Opera Sergey Shirokov and the conductor Jan Latham-Koenig), as well as a meeting with the director of The Idiot at the Mariinsky Theatre Alexei Stepanyuk.

Three concerts of Weinberg’s chamber music will take place at the Bolshoi Theatre and the State Institute for Art Studies. The prologue concert is devoted to violin pieces, the epilogue to vocal compositions.

The central concert at the Beethoven Hall of the Bolshoi Theatre will feature the theatre’s soloists performing the world premieres of Weinberg’s Six Shakespeare’s Sonnets for bass and piano Op. 33 and Concertino for cello and string orchestra Op. 43 (variant 1).

The program of the forum includes the following talkings:

a talking with David Pountney, a world-famous British director, passionate proselytiser of Weinberg’s music and the main driving force for its promotion worldwide; he stages Weinberg’s operas in Europe and America and organizes festivals of his music;

a talking with Zofia Posmysz, 93-year-old Auschwitz survivor, author of the radio play and the novel The Passenger from Cabin 45 which became the literary basis for Weinberg’s opera The Passenger.

Other special guests of the forum who are to take part in discussions are Weinberg’s widow Olga Rakhalskaya; his daughter Anna Weinberg; Sergey Medvedev, son of Weinberg’s friend and librettist Alexander Medvedev; patriarch of Russian composers Vladimir Rubin; famous musicologist and film critic Andrey Zolotov.

The international academic conference ‘Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). A Re-Discovery’ will be joined by musicologists and musicians from Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, UK, US and Israel.

Main subjects of the conference are: life and works of Mieczysław Weinberg, his operas, his chamber music, his legacy and his identity.

Director and curator of the forum and the conference is Andrei Ustinov.

Academic advisor and curator is Antonina Klokova (Russian-German musicologist, research associate at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar).

The conference opens with a round-table discussion ‘Weinberg’s Operas in the Modern Theatre’, organized in co-operation with the Moscow Association of Music Critics.

Each day of the conference has its own subject.

16 February is the day of The Idiot and includes speaker papers, a round-table discussion and a performance of the premiere run at the Bolshoi Theatre (New Stage).

17 February is the day of The Passenger and includes speaker papers, a round-table discussion and talkings, including a talking with Zofia Posmysz, and a performance of the premiere run at the Novaya Opera.

18 February is the day of Weinberg’s chamber music and closes with a concert at the Bolshoi Theatre (Beethoven Hall).

19 February is the day of Mieczysław Weinberg: Identity – Biography – Personality. Includes a talking with David Pountney; a round-table discussion ‘Mieczysław Weinberg remembered by his family, friends and colleague’, featuring Weinberg’s friends and relatives, composer Vladimir Rubin and musicologist Andrey Zolotov; a touring performance of The Passenger by the Ekaterinburg Opera.

The foyer of the Bolshoi Theatre will host a photo exhibition ‘Productions of Weinberg’s Operas 2016-2017) featuring the productions of the Bolshoi Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre, the Novaya Opera, the Ekaterinburg Opera, as well as the unique photos of Weinberg from his family archive.

The Polish Cultural Center in Moscow presents a film The Passenger produced in Poland in 1963 after the novel by Zofia Posmysz.

The papers and other materials of the forum are to be published afterwards.

The forum ‘Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). A Re-Discovery’ summarises all the achievements in Weinberg studies both in Russia and abroad. It will act as a new powerhouse to the further return of Weinberg’s music (which is all the more vital as we are approaching the composer’s centenary in 2019) and will enrich our knowledge of the Russian music of the 20th century.

The Bolshoi Theatre is having a press-conference about the forum on 10 February featuring the theatre’s General Director Vladimir Urin and the director and curator of the conference Andrei Ustinov.

Accreditation for the press-conference to be announced.

Registration for the forum to be announced in short. Forum events to be registered for include the conference, round-table discussions and talkings (do not include evening performances on 16-19 February).

Find the detailed information about the forum on