Welcome Speech by Andrey Ustinov to the International Conference «Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Between East and West», University of Manchester
by Andrey Ustinov
the Director of the Organizing Committee
for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s birth
Dear colleagues, musicians and all of you who research the life and work of Mieczyslaw Weinberg,
It is my pleasure to welcome you and to congratulate you on the opening of the International conference «Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Between East and West» in Manchester.
The main theme of the conference – between East and West – reflects the current situation in the study of legacy left to us by this outstanding 20th century composer.
Over the past decade, European researchers have started to study his work, musicians have begun to include his compositions into their programmes, European opera houses stage his operas — The Passenger, The Idiot and The Portrait.
In Russia, this process of incorporating the musician’s legacy into the contemporary musical space has never ceased, it existed both during the composer’s lifetime and after his death, even if the intensity of the process varied.
Over the past decade, mainly due to the efforts of Per Skans, Tommy Persson, David Pountney, David Fanning, Quatuor Danel, Gidon Kremer, Рeermusic classical, Verena Mogl, Antonina Klokova, Danuta Gwizdalanka, Daniel Elphick and others, Weinberg has been discovered in Europe and the USA. We are deeply respectful and grateful for everything they have done.
Thank you for your close attention and keen interest in the life and work of this Soviet and Russian composer and for your invaluable contribution to Russian culture!
I believe it would be wonderful to unite our efforts under the auspices of this significant event — the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mieczyslaw Weinberg. We do share a common cause! It may seem at times as if musicologists of different countries have appropriated Weinberg and show no intention to share him with anyone, and yet the musical art of this outstanding creator unites us.
Russia is willing to collaborate; we are open for presenting your research to Russian musicians; we are ready to form a common information field, to help translate and disseminate studies of our Western colleagues, to assist in receiving information from Russian archives. The most important thing for all of us who admire the work of Weinberg is not walls but bridges. This thought was expressed in one of letters by highly regarded David Fanning, the convenor and one of the leading researches of Weinberg’s legacy.
Indeed, we strongly support this thought!
In Russia, this Weinberg’s anniversary year 2019 will be filled with a whole range of events, and we invite our Western colleagues to attend them.
Weinberg’s compositions will be performed by Russian individual performers and music groups, including the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra as well as symphony orchestras from Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Kursk.
December 8, 2019, on the day of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 100th anniversary, The Idiot (premiered in 2017) is scheduled at the Bolshoi Theatre; during the celebration days, the Novaya Opera theatre will stage The Passenger, and The Idiot will be staged at the Mariinsky Theatre. The Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra will perform Weinberg’s compositions in the new Zaryadye concert hall. A subscription dedicated to Weinberg’s centenary will be available at the Moscow Philarmonic.
The preparation and publication of volumes for the complete works of the composer in “Compozitor – Saint Petersburg” publishing house together with the team of “Musical review” is now well under way. The presentation of the first six volumes took place
in December 2018.
There is active ongoing scientific work, which sometimes involves colleagues from the State Institute of Art Studies.
In Moscow, a scientific conference dedicated to the life and work of Mieczyslaw Weinberg is planned to be held in December 2019.
For the first time ever, we are working on a detailed Compendium of Weinberg’s Legacy, which is supposed to be released for scientific use by the end of 2019. It will be publicly available online, so that everyone interested in Weinberg’s work could have
an opportunity to turn to the factual base of his legacy. We hope it will also be useful for our Western colleagues.
We would like to invite musicologists, scholars and all participants of the Manchester conference to take part in our events, to share information and to augment the Compendium of Weinberg’s Legacy with reliable data.
We will be glad to see you in Russia during this year of centenary celebrations!
Director and Convenor of the Year of Weinberg in Russia,
Chief Editor of the National Paper