There's a subtle cultural invasion taking place this year in Russia and it is wide-ranging in scale, extensive in geographical spread and varied in its content. As part of the UK-Russia Year of Music 2019, there is an unprecedented wealth of British classical music and British musicians to be heard across the country right through to the summer of 2020 (and beyond!).
There are concerts in the heart of Russia's classical music world such as Moscow's fabulous new Zaryadye Hall, a stone's throw from Red Square, and in the marble-columned Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonia. But also in concert halls in Petrozavsk, Ekaterinburg and a whole cluster of Siberian cities including Kemerovo and Barnaul alongside Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk.
Conductors, singers, instrumentalists, chamber choirs, ensembles and full orchestras, the British musicians range from distinguished artists with long-established international renown (John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir have just performed in Russia for the first time in their 50-year-history) to young, upcoming stars of tomorrow (BBC Young Musician Laura van der Heijden performs in three cities with repertoire ranging from Elgar's Cello Concerto to a chamber recital with her regular duo partner, Russian-born pianist Petr Limanov).
Repertoire-wise there are British works spanning five centuries: from the 16th Century - music from the reign of Elizabeth I - to modern operas by Oliver Knussen (his fantasy-opera Where the Wild Things Are for children of all ages!) and George Benjamin, whose searing opera Lessons in Love and Violence was first performed only last year. And, along the way, plenty of works by more familiar composers including Purcell, Elgar, and Britten.
In short, there is something for everyone coming to a concert hall near you soon: