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241th Season

The Dmitry Pokrovsky Ensemble


Dmitry Pokrovsky was founder and leader of the 'Pokrovsky Ensemble' which he founded as 'workshop' for the conservation of the 'real russian folklore'. He studied music at the Moscow Gnessin Institute and during one research excursion he came into contact with the unchanged, true folk music of Russia and instantly he realized the danger this culture lived in.

The stalinistic agricultural politics destroyed the old traditions and the way of living in the villages and by this, killed the music, too. It was replaced by the 'Balalaika-' and 'Kasatchok'-ensembles, which pretended to perform the people's culture what had never been the people's culture. Pokrovski realized that the real music was disappearing, only old people remembered the tunes and so he founded an ensemble and he travelled with it's members through the country side for many years, collecting the songs and dances. During their research, they studied music and the way of living and by this, the worked out an immense repertoire. Mainly he explored Central Russia, the country between Don and Dnjepr, south of Moscow, north of the Ucraina. There were only few occasions to perform in Breshnew times and only since Perestroijka tours and concerts in greater halls became possible. He got the Gorbatchew Award for his merits caring for the russian culture. Pokrovsky lived in the United States for some years, but he came back to Russia regularly.

Dmitri Pokrovsky lectured at America's Smithsonian Institute, Princeton University and the Omega Institute, and was a Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, USA. Directing his Ensemble, Pokrovsky wrote numerous scores for films and was an active musical director in Russian theatre. In 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev honored Pokrovsky with the Government Award, the Soviet Union's highest recognition for artistic excellence, a testament to the scholarship, musicianship and vitality with which he and the Ensemble had preserved Russian tradition, culture and customs."We began as collectors of folk songs. We traveled all over Russia, principally to the small villages and rural farming areas where songs and customs have remained the same for many, many years. We were to form a living library as well as a cultural laboratory. The great Russian composer of the 19th century Mikhail Glinka said, "songs are the soul of the nation". We would like to share these songs with you as a window into the Russian soul."

The renowned Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble was founded in 1973. Wearing traditional Russian village costumes and performing on ancient instruments, the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble brings the authentic folklore of Russia back to life. Some of their lively recreations of village songs, dances and pagan rituals are more than 2000 years old. Since its founding, the Ensemble has been featured on the Paul Winter Consort's Earthbeat tour (USA) and has given performances at numerous international festivals. The group has been featured in more than two dozen films, participated in many Russian theatrical pieces and appears regularly on Russian television.

Dmitri Pokrovsky died in 1996, but his legacy continues. The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble continues to perform worldwide.

Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg

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