Yulia Pereu, a student at Brest Musical College, rushes out in excitement. "I′ve just met a genius!" she beams. She′s just taken a master-class with a Professor from the Moscow Conservatoire — Andrey Diyev. He stands alongside such pianists as Rachmaninoff, Gilels and Toscanini. His classes at the Republican Gymnasium-College of the Belarusian State Academy of Music are eagerly attended, every seat taken. Even those who haven′t graduated from a music school are welcome. In demonstrating how to perform the same piece in different ways, the master gesticulates and cracks witty jokes; the audience follows every gesture with bated breath.
The other classes taken by eminent Russian professors (organised as part of the Year of Russia in Belarus) over the past 6 months have been met with equal enthusiasm. The events are keenly awaited by amateur audiences as well as music students. For many, this may be their only opportunity to listen firsthand to violoncellist Kirill Rodin or to Moscow Philharmonic Society violinist, Tatiana Berkul. Seminars are also being given by Alexandra Frantseva, Art Director of the prominent violin quartet named after Tchaikovsky, and the founder of Europe′s only percussion ensemble, Mark Pekarsky (giving a lecture on drumming). People′s Artist of Russia, Valery Maloletkov, whose art is exhibited worldwide, is also attending the event and has organised an exhibition of her work. Both the exhibition and the final concert were a huge success; participants of the master-classes received certificates in the closing ceremony.
"You have many talented young people; I would be glad to visit Minsk again," says Diyev. "I found no barriers to our artistic communication! Unlike in Japan."
I′m surprised, "Don′t the Japanese lead the art world?"
He smiles graciously, "To communicate romantic classical music well, you must feel it in your heart; Russia and Belarus share cultural ideas — our symphonic concerts are mainly attended by people after a long working day, not after a substantial dinner in a restaurant."
Indeed, love for music is more than a passing fashion here. Children learn a love of art and music from their families and are helped by competent teachers. Taking master-classes with eminent artists is the icing on the cake; every student strives to surpass his or her teacher and today′s artistic youth are very ambitious.