How would you assess your success at this year’s festival?
We enjoyed a true holiday of arts. Few global festivals simultaneously invite so many wonderful musicians but we managed to attract Sofia Gubaidulina, Vadim Repin, Barry Douglas and many others. Yuri Bashmet Festival has a reputation in the world of music — across the CIS and beyond. Audiences really appreciate our festival programmes, and the European Festival Association has invited us to join its ranks. In fact, its Deputy President, Massimo Mercelli, gave a concert for us this year. Whether we accept this invitation is of secondary significance: the fact is that we have received attention, which would hardly be possible if the Festival failed to deserve it.
The number of seats sold evinces public enjoyment of our programme, which is of the highest quality. Meanwhile, we continue to go from strength to strength.
The Yuri Bashmet Festival is one of the most profitable cultural projects, being a good example of state-private partnership (the state injected no less than 10 percent of the cost — the greatest contribution to date).
What are your plans for 2015?
As the tenth festival is a special jubilee, we’d like to surprise you. We’re inviting some of the key artistes — who’ve attended our event over the past decade — to return.
Do you plan to launch TV or online broadcasting?
We may do, although classical music broadcasts rarely enjoy high ratings. I think there is a TV channel which would be interested. Such broadcasts are unique and the arrival of composers Sofia Gubaidulina and Krzysztof Penderecki in Belarus was a historic event. They are over 80 years old and rival such greats as Shostakovich, Schnittke and Prokofiev. They sat in the hall while their music was being performed. I’d love these events to be documented for the archives, as they are part of our country’s cultural history.
Do you ensure access to your concerts at the Philharmonic for those with limited mobility?
People in wheelchairs do attend our concerts, and we invite children from orphanages and hospices. We do this with great pleasure but don`t advertise this at press conferences, as we feel that charity acts don`t need to be shouted out at every opportunity. I wouldn`t have mentioned it if you hadn’t asked. As for the Philharmonic, it does have an entrance for wheelchair users.
Works by Olga Podgaiskaya were well-received at your festival. Are you planning a new Belarusian premiere for next year’s forum?
It’s already a tradition; we love our composers to prepare music for us every year. Last year, Valery Voronov composed for our Festival and, in 2014, Olga Podgaiskaya presented her music. In my view, it’s great when premieres are made at such a level. All composers worldwide — including the most famous ones — dream of this.
By Irina Ovsepyan