Film director Emir Kusturica, together with Gazprom Neft, has presented the third Bolshoi Festival of Classical Music. The festival traditionally takes place in Drvengrad, the ethnic village established by Emir Kusturica in Serbia, not far from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the settlement of Mechavnik within the Mokra Gora national park.
In addition to participants from music schools and academies throughout Serbia, talented young people from Russia were also, for the first time, able to take part, with more than 70 musicians, in total, appearing at the festival.
Young Russian musicians were able to take part in the festival thanks to the Gazprom Neft “Home Towns” corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, ongoing since 2013, with music schools throughout Omsk, Tomsk, Murvalenko, Noyabrsk, Orenburg and Khanty-Mansiysk represented.
Third place in the competition programme was won by 15-year-old violinist Anastasia Chugainova from Khanty-Manskiysk, with second place going to a Serbian vocal—instrumental ensemble, and the festival’s top prize — the golden matryoshka — going to young pianist Leo Borislavlevich, a student at the Faculty of Music Arts At the University of Arts in Belgrade.
The numerous guests attending the event also had the opportunity to see appearances from outstanding performers, with the opening of the festival marked by international award-winning pianist Yuri Rozum performing works by Russian composers. The second day of the programme saw a concert — attended by the Patriarch of Serbia — from world famous Serbian violinist Nemanja Radulovic, accompanied by the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra conducted by Srboljub Dimicha. The festival closed with the No Smoking Orchestra, led by Emir Kusturica, playing some of his most famous compositions.
Alexander Dybal, Deputy CEO for Corporate Communications, Gazprom Neft, commented: “As a shareholder in NIS, Gazprom Neft supports several major cultural projects in Serbia — sponsoring courses in the Russian language, actively supporting the Russian Cultural Centre in Belgrade, and organising concerts of Russian music. We initiated the restoration of the Russian cemetery in Belgrade, the final resting place of many ‘White Russian’ emigrés, as well as a monument to Russian soldiers killed in the First World War.
Our objective here is the development and strengthening of cultural relations between Russia and Serbia. It is important to us that — under the auspices of the ‘Home Towns’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme — students at music schools throughout various parts of Russia play an active part in the Bolshoi Festival competition programme, and gain experience in performing at the international level. I have every confidence that, together with Emir Kusturica, we will next year be able to deliver a festival at an entirely new level, widening representation by young Russian and Serbian musicians still further.”