44,760 music lovers from Armenia, Russia, Germany, Malta, UK, and many other countries followed the “Music 20” online international festival, held on July 10-28 in Armenia. The official website music20.am was created to broadcast the performances throughout the festival days.
Along with local Armenian artists, many celebrated musicians were hosted in Armenia as guest performers of the festival – cellists Alexander Ramm, Boris Andrianov, violinists Andrey Baranov, Francesca Dego, Haik Kazazian, conductors Marius Stravinsky, Rustem Abiazov, Alan Chircop, Gianluca Marciano, pianists Nikita Mndoyants, Alexander Gindin, Gloria Campaner, and clarinet Igor Fedorov.
The festival was organized owing to the joint efforts of the European Foundation for Support of Culture and the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex. The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra was the official orchestra of the festival.
Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture, expressed his gratitude to all the project participants.
“First of all, I would like to thank our partners with whom we managed to hold the ‘Music 20' International Music Festival in Armenia within the severe pandemic reality – the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex. Together we did tremendous work! Secondly, I want to highlight what cultural significance is being brought by implementing our project. Within the current circumstances, it is very important to support culture and especially classical music. We provided artists the possibility to perform on the stage after months of the shutdown, and the audience got a chance to listen to the 19 fantastic concerts. I hope that soon everything will get back to normal, and we will be able to do even more great projects together!”
The invited musicians shared their emotions on the “Music 20” festival “feeling like a breeze of fresh air amid the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic, introduced by the organizers and allowing thousands of listeners to savor high-quality music”, as was shared by many of them.
Rustem Abiazov, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Kazan “La Primavera” Chamber Orchestra, admits his disbelief that “Music 20” would even be possible to accomplish. “Of course, I knew that the President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture, Konstantin Ishkhanov, always achieves the goals he targets. Despite this, I traveled to Armenia with certain concerns over the possibility of organizing something like this under the present conditions. However, I arrived in Yerevan to witness a festival in an unusual format. A number of orchestras around the world are streaming their concerts online these days, and I am thrilled that Armenia is in a leading position in this respect”, Rustem Abiazov said.
Violinist Haik Kazazian emphasized that there is no other festival of a similar scale across the world, demonstrating the big love of Armenia for classical music.
For diversity, concert program included 19 symphony and chamber concerts, as well as a series of recitals featuring works by W.A.Mozart, L. van Beethoven, Dmitri Shostakovich, P.I.Tchaikovsky, A.Skryabin, F.Mendelssohn, F.Chopin, E.Grig, A.Shor, A.Khachaturian, Gh.Saryan, A.Arutiunian, E.Mirzoyan, J.Ter-Tadevosian, S.Shakaryan, T.Mansurian, E.Hayrapetyan and other composers.
Alexey Shor, a composer in residence of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, was watching the festival online together with thousands of spectators around the world.
“I totally enjoyed it, and I am very sorry I could not come this time.
I think everything was organized at the highest level- from world-class performers to the excellent quality of broadcasts.
Armenia is one of my favorite countries, and I am very happy that my music is often played there. I hope I will be able to visit it soon. I am very grateful to the organizers of the festival, and, of course, I am grateful to the orchestra, the conductors, and the soloists for their interest in my music.”
Sergey Smbatyan, the Principal Conductor and the Artistic Director of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra sum up the outcomes of the “Music 20” festival, stating that today highly demanded artists around the world admit to being given a second breath with this initiative presented by Armenia.
“For me, it is valuable to show the paramount importance of classical music for Armenia. We had brilliant concerts. The Symphony Orchestra overcame challenges with world-scale artists. Remarkably, the events in Armenia's cultural life have been exposed to the whole world for the past two weeks. Around 45,000 views evidence that what we offer to the global cultural life is highly demanded, meaning that amid the cultural standstill of the world, something is being created in Armenia that goes against the flow and works out well”, Sergey Smbatyan said.
All anti-pandemic security measures were ensured during the festival.
Karen Ghazaryan, the Director of the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex, emphasized that under these challenging circumstances, we were able to carry out the “Music 20” festival successfully, with all safety measures in place. “We had a large number of views, and, most importantly, no cases of infection were reported during the festival. This shows that with proper organization and operational responsibility, it is possible to hold events that present no threat to public health,” Mr.Ghazaryan noted.