Monday, July 13, 2009

Future of the Bolshoi




According to a recent story by Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times, Alexander Vedernikov, the “chief conductor and music director of the Bolshoi Theater resigned suddenly on Monday . . . throwing the future of the institution’s $1 billion renovation project into chaos.”


About six years ago I lived in Moscow, where I taught music courses for Lomonosov Moscow State University and performed and recorded with the Pan-Asian ("Wa-On") Ensemble at Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. During that period, I would frequently visit the Bolshoi, which despite recent challenges has remained a uniquely important venue in the field of European art music, a priceless landmark. Any visitor to the Bolshoi Theatre can confirm it is a truly impressive place worth preserving for future generations.

The current situation at the Bolshoi reminds us of the importance of ensuring that the significance of cultural heritage is not hastily dismissed during times of economic crisis. Through organizations such as UNESCO, European Union commissions, and various NGOs, it is possible to effectively turn the attention of lawmakers and corporate boards toward the urgent needs of global musical heritage sites, whether calling for renewal in New Orleans, New Delhi, or New Caledonia.


Here are links to some related programs:

http://whc.unesco.org/

http://ec.europa.eu/culture/portal/activities/heritage/cultural_heritage_en.htm

http://exchanges.state.gov/afcp/



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