Muses gather in Nesvizh for festival

Town brings together famous musicians, artists and scientists in May for 16th time

By Lyudmila Minkevich

Belarusian muses traditionally congregate in Nesvizh’s ancient park, with the busts and sculptures of prominent public figures, patrons of arts and artists from the Radziwill family looking down from above. The atmosphere of the luxurious palace and estate, under a pure forget-me-not blue sky, has been unique for the past 16 years. The artistic and enlightening Muses of Nesvizh festival is a long-awaited holiday for local residents, inspiring similar events countrywide.

Each year, Nesvizh brings together various forms of artistic initiative: theatre, painting and music. The National Academic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Professor Mikhail Finberg, performs classical works by ancient masters, as well as contemporary pieces and pop music — by Belarusian and foreign composers. Each year, the maestro and his musicians prepare a new programme, with Nesvizh residents being the first to enjoy it.

“Nesvizh at the Centre of Europe has been hosted by the town’s cultural centre for the second time,” notes Mr. Finberg. “Last year, the concert was dedicated to Chopin. This time, the string orchestra prepared Seasons of the Year, embracing works by Vivaldi, Piazzolla and Tchaikovsky, with the Birthday concert as its prologue. We’ve honoured the names of Belarusian composers from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose jubilee anniversaries we’re celebrating this year. You won’t hear this music at the Philharmonic or on the radio.”

Nesvizh’s Town Hall hosted a solo concert by Vladimir Soltan (clarinet), a laureate of international contests and a scholarship holder of the Special Fund of the President. He is the son of the outstanding Belarusian composer. A great pop and jazz gala concert finished this bright artistic holiday.

“Undoubtedly, this holiday would have been impossible without state support,” believes the maestro. “Over these years, a special layer of listeners has grown and the level of music has considerably enhanced. This festival has become a foundation for opening similar events in other towns. Today, the National Orchestra conducts around 130 festivals in various Belarusian towns. Two are held in Chernobyl affected regions: the district centres of Chechersk and Khoiniki.”

The festival has become a tradition — part of the history of Nesvizh. Those who attended the first concert of the Muses of Nesvizh now bring their children and grandchildren; Anna Sen of Nesvizh this year visited the event with her six year old grand-daughter, Dasha. She tells us, “I annually visit the Muses of Nesvizh and never miss a performance. It’s my second time here with Dasha, who will start school this year. However, she already knows something about art, attending dance lessons and musical school.”

The Chairman of Nesvizh’s District Executive Committee, Ivan Krupko, tells us about local authorities’ plans for the development of the town. “Nesvizh isn’t standing still. At present, documents are being prepared relating to the reconstruction of the Roman Catholic Church of God’s Body, with the Radziwills’ Palace awaiting its opening. Exhibitions are currently taking place in its 13 halls, with construction works due to finish by July 1st. A hotel and a restaurant will become operational and, in December, the palace will open fully. A number of concerts are then planned, with a gala concert by the Opera Theatre scheduled for 25th June. Maybe, the 17th Muses of Nesvizh will also be organised there.”

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