Monday, August 27, 2018

Russian Musicians Now Following Athletes into Emigration

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 27 – For many ordinary Russians, the exodus of some of their country’s top athletes is something hard to accept (; for the Russian intelligentsia, the departure of the country’s best young musicians strikes at the heart of their definition of their country and its culture.

            And that is exactly what is happening now, according to an article by Aram Ter-Gazaryan in today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta. Because of its special meaning for Russian intellectuals concerned about their culture, it deserves more attention than a first glance might suggest (

                All too often, the independent journalist says, graduates of Russian music schools  after receiving a diploma either leave the profession altogether or go abroad where there are more opportunities to gain experience and get promoted to better jobs.  Some manage to do so in Russia, but fewer now than ever in the past, Ter-Gazaryan says. 

            A major reason for this problem, he continues, is that many music students have an unrealistic understanding of what is possible and are not ready to go from being winners of music competitions while students to the position of instructors or music workers in distant provincial orchestras.

             The ministry of culture could do something about this, the journalist continues, but it has failed to do provide students with guidance or recent graduates with support for musical activities, steps it routinely took in Soviet times. As a result, ever more people are now talking about the Soviet system of sending graduates to specific jobs and then overseeing their advancement.

            “Despite the fact that we cursed this at the time,” Ter-Gazaryan says, many now realize that “this was not that bad a system: the students who finished conservatives, if they didn’t get top jobs, nonetheless got positions with a guaranteed income. Today, this system doesn’t exist, and that is the chief tragedy of our profession,” pianist Denis Matsuyev tells the journalist.

            As a result, Ter-Gazaryan says, “Russian musicians have greater chances to find work in other countries. European and American orchestras willingly hire them. They are given needed support, and the governments and foundations pay for their training in the best musical schools of the world.”

            Russia could compete with this if it had the money and if it organized a system whereby young musicians could get chances to hone their skills in various places around the country rather than be stuck in a single place for an indeterminate period, their most likely fate at the present time if they do not move abroad.

            Unless this changes and changes soon, the Nezavisimaya gazeta journalist concludes, Russia will lose a generation of musicians and with it one of the key parts of its proud national culture. When and if it will be able to recover are open questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment