“Millennium of Russian Classical Music” Festival became a true celebration of the rich tradition of supreme excellence in Music and the Arts that Russians take pride for centuries. The Festival presented several remarkable concerts in April 2001 to delight San Francisco audiences at such prominent venues as the Herbst Theater, 1st congregational Church of Berkeley(famed for its excellent acoustics) and the Russian Cultural Center. The festival was organized by The Russian American Cultural Foundation, presided by Ivan Poushine, Jr. (the great grand son of the beloved poet) and executed by the members of the Board of Directors: Vladimir Kuznetsov, Jonathan Leo, Will Starr, Sharon Korotkin, Zoia Lu-Choglokoff, Walt von Hauffe, Natalie Sabelnik. Rozalina Gutman served as Artistic Advisor, also organizing educational events (such as master classes with the artists), as well as coordinating and performing at the fundraising Gala at the SF Russian Consulate.
The festival was supported by the efforts of numerous individuals, companies, organizations, including San Francisco Consulate of the Russian Federation (and personally by Hon. Yuri V. Popov, Consul General of the Russian Federation), SF Hotel Tax Fund, San Francisco Symphony, Cal Performances, Oakland Symphony, the Presidio Trust, the Society of Russian Former Cadets, West and Praszker Realtors, Morgan Stanley, Will and Nancy Starr and many other enthusiasts that were listed in lovely program, prepared for printing by graphic Designer Eva Emmert.
The festival featured local and internationally famous Russian musicians: Bay Area residents soprano Svetlana Nikitenko, violinist Leonid Igudesman, violinist Arthur Mikhailov, Konevets Vocal Ensemble, cellist Sergei Riabtchenko, accompanied by Russian Chamber Orchestra (that performed several original arrangements of the conductor Alexander Vereshagin). Every performer was greeted by long lasting applause of enthusiastic and delighted audience. International celebrity and top prize winner of multiple Int’l competitions (incl. the 10th Van Cliburn Int’l Piano Competition), pianist Yakov Kasman ended the last concert at the Herbst Theater with unforgettable performance of Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto #2, that followed long lasting standing ovation, followed by long line of admires after the concert.
Yakov Kasman, winner of many most prestigious Int'l piano competitions' top prizes (incl. 10th Van Cliburn's), giving master class with Natasha Paremski (now concert pianist with int'l reputation) at Ms. Rozalina Gutman Piano Studio, Berkeley, CA, USA
One of the most rewarding experiences was the opportunity to observe the master classes with renowned pianist Yakov Kasman, former professor of Moscow Conservatory. Several local advanced piano students from various backgrounds that study with prominent Bay Area piano instructors were selected through the taped audition to participate. They had a very unique opportunity of one-on-one interaction and exchange with the renowned master at the Russian Cultural Center and at the Piano Studio of Rozalina Gutman that were dedicated to the application of the principals of World’s most famous piano tradition – the Russian Piano School. The festival was a true celebration of the finest accomplishments of Russian Tradition in Classical Music that should be passed to the next generations and preserved as a spectacle among other Civilization’s best achievements.