11 July 2014 marked the closing of the second Bolshoi Music Festival, running from 9 July in the Serbian village of Drvengrad (Mokra Gora national park). The Festival was taking place for the second time, organised with the support of Russian oil and gas major Gazprom Neft.
One hundred pupils, studying at music schools and academies throughout Serbia and Republika Srpska, took part in the competition.
First place (and the Festival’s main prize — the “Golden Matryoshka”) was won by the Assaha trio from the Belgrade Music Academy, with Pavle Krstic, from the Isidor Bayić Secondary School of Music, Novy Sad taking second place, and third place going to Van Chirkovich from the Music Academy of East Sarajevo.
The key idea behind the Festival — founded by Kusturica — is to develop cultural ties between Russia and Serbia, as well as supporting talented young people from music schools and academies throughout Serbia.
An outstanding event on the Festival programme was a concert from one of the most famous pianists on the international stage, Denis Matsuev, performing at the opening of the Festival with a selection of pieces by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov, Igor Stravinsky and Franz Liszt.
Emir Kusturica, commenting during the Festival’s official opening ceremony, made clear that Denis Matsuev’s participation took the Festival to a whole new level in terms of quality.
“It has long been my dream that I would one day see on Mećavnik mountain — which previously offered nothing but a telephone pole and a haystack, and where you can now find a complete wooden village — a piano and philharmonic orchestra, performing the works of the great Russian composers.
And now — look, another of my dreams is coming true; specifically, that the telephone pole and haystack are left firmly in the past. Our collaboration with Gazprom Neft, and with the Gazprom Group of Companies, proves that two close-knit nations, together, can make possible the creation of a new and inclusive cultural landscape.”
NIS CEO and Gazprom Neft Deputy CEO for International Assets Kirill Kravchenko made reference to Russia and Serbia’s long-standing connections — in numerous areas but, above all, in culture.
“It is a little-known fact that the great Alexander Pushkin spoke Serbian and translated several Serbian folk songs into Russian, while Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky turned to Serbian folklore in composing the Serbo—Russian March (the Marche Slave). We are supporting talented young people — which is, really, the main purpose of this Festival. I hope that this Festival in Mećavnik will help to develop talent similar to that of Matsuev, Pushkin and Tchaikovsky.”
The Festival closed with a performance from the Czech National Orchestra which, together with the Festival’s “No Smoking Orchestra” gave a performance of the opera, “Time of the Gypsies.”