Memory Score, a history
and music project

The year of 2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the Leningrad performance of Dmitry Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony. The performance of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony in besieged Leningrad on August 9, 1942 is a unique fact in the world’s musical culture, as well as a major socio-political event during World War 2. The symphony was played in the Philharmonic Grand Hall by the Leningrad Radio Committee Orchestra, conducted by Karl Eliasberg. In a way the performance was a final chord in the symphony’s long tour around Russia’s regions, where the Leningrad Philharmonia was evacuated, and the capital cities of the USSR’s allies in World War 2. Kuibyshev and Moscow, Tashkent and Novosibirsk, London and New York… The timeline of historic events brings together generations, and the documents of the past days, artefacts and research materials recreate a polyphonic canvas – the Memory Score.

The Shostakovich St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonia has launched the Memory Score project to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the siege premiere of the Seventh symphony.

To commemorate the 80th Anniversary of Shostakovich’s Seventh symphony performance in Leningrad

On the memorial day of the complete lifting of the Blockade of Leningrad the Shostakovich St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonia announces the launch of the new project – the Memory Score, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the performance of the legendary Seventh symphony, which later was called the Leningrad symphony.

The performance of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony is a unique fact in the world’s musical culture, as well as a major socio-political event during World War 2.  The premiere of the Seventh in besieged Leningrad on August 9, 1942 by the Leningrad Radio Committee Orchestra conducted by K.I. Eliasberg has been rightly called “the first volleys at Berlin”.

The project aims to preserve the historical memory of one of the most significant cultural events during World War II and to strengthen the image of the Shostakovich St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonia as a creator of true spiritual values in today’s sociocultural milieu, as well as to improve the interregional connections in the musical, historical and museum communities through cross-sectoral cooperation.

The project consists of three parts: an scientifi conference, a memorial exhibition, and a key event – the concert of the Philharmonia Academic symphony orchestra – the former Big symphony orchestra of the Leningrad Radio Committee orchestra – to be held in the Grand Philharmonic Hall on 9 August 2022.

An Scientific Conference dedicated to the cultural memory of the Leningrad Symphony will take place on August 9, 2022, bringing together WWII historians and researchers, musicologists, archivists, museum professionals, and cultural memory experts from all over Russia. The key topics will cover the performance of the Seventh Symphony during the war and its reverberations, the memorialization of the event, uncovered documents regarding the preparations for and premieres of symphony performances in Soviet Russia and abroad, and contemporary reflections on this memorable event. Information Letter

The exhibition in the Grand Hall’s area, which will open on August 9, 2022, will feature the unique collection of exhibits, many of which have never been on the show before: the original symphony score, Shostakovich’s personal letters, musicians’ personal possessions and instruments, K. Eliasberg’s belongings, as well posters, photographs, letters, etc. – everything related to the symphony performances in Kuybyshev, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, London, New York, and, of course, in Leningrad. It is this Leningrad performance that will take centre stage in the exhibition. Thus, the exhibition will recreate the historic and informational environment for the unique event in the global musical landscape – the first performance of the Leningrad symphony in the besieged city.

The project also includes the publication of an illustrated monograph under the project’s name, the parts of which will be devoted to the geography of the Seventh’s performances and the social and political resonance the event had in our country and abroad. The book will also specify the place the Leningrad symphony by Shostakovich takes in our cultural and historic memory.

The final event of the day will be a concert by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, former the Leningrad Radio Committee Orchestra, to be held in the Philharmonia’s Grand Hall. The performance of the Seventh Symphony will be broadcast live over the Internet and on the radio. This is our tribute to the heroic deed of Leningrad’s creative intelligensia who carried through hunger, cold and bombardments the undefeatable power of art.

The project was conceived and is curated by Dr. Julia Kantor, Doctor of Historical Sciences and Deputy Director and Chief Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ St. Petersburg Institute of History.


09
august, 2022
20:00, tue
09
august, 2022
tue

The Exhibition

The exhibition in the Grand Hall’s area, which will open on August 9, 2022, will feature the unique collection of exhibits, many of which have never been on the show before: the original symphony score, Shostakovich’s personal letters, musicians’ personal possessions and instruments, K. Eliasberg’s belongings, as well posters, photographs, letters, etc. – everything related to the symphony performances in Kuybyshev, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, London, New York, and, of course, in Leningrad. It is this Leningrad performance that will take centre stage in the exhibition. 

09
august, 2022
tue

The Scientific Conference

The scientific conference dedicated to the cultural memory of the Leningrad Symphony will take place on August 9, 2022, bringing together WWII historians and researchers, musicologists, archivists, museum professionals, and cultural memory experts from all over Russia. The key topics will cover the performance of the Seventh Symphony during the war and its reverberations, the memorialization of the event, uncovered documents regarding the preparations for and premieres of symphony performances in Soviet Russia and abroad, and contemporary reflections on this memorable event.

Information Letter

Project partners

General information partner of the project

Information partners of the project

St. Petersburg Philharmonia Title Partner
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