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Two centuries of Russian music exhibited at the Presidential Library

24 March – 24 June 2021

From March 24 until June 24, 2021, at the Presidential Library (Senate Square, 3) runs the exhibition “History of the Philharmonic Society in the Collection of the Musical Library. Marking the 100th anniversary of the Dmitry Shostakovich St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic". On May 13, 1921 the first philharmonic society in our country (Petrograd by that time) was established. The first concert took place on June 12.

The Dmitry Shostakovich St. Petersburg Philharmonic traces its history back to 1882 - with the formation of the Court Orchestra (now an honored collective of Russia). At the same time, the formation of a notorious depository which later became the basis of the modern fund of the Philharmonic Musical Library was launched.

A visitor to the exhibition in the Presidential Library through the prism of this collection, which possesses rare and valuable materials, will see two centuries of Russian music - from the emergence of the first musical societies in Russia and the opening of the hall of the Noble Assembly to the present day.

Among the gems of the collection are copies of music publications that belonged to Emperor Alexander III, a collection of materials from the orchestra of Count A. D. Sheremetev, and the personal library of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, organizer and first chairman of the Russian Musical Society (1859). Many of these publications have exquisite design by such outstanding masters as, for example, Ivan Bilibin. One cannot but mention the rarities of the 17th – 18th centuries - opera scores by the court composer Louis XIV J.-B. Lully, claviers and scores by W. Mozart and J.-J. Russo.

Over the past hundred years, the Musical Library has been collecting documentary evidence of the Philharmonic's extensive activities: concert programs and posters, photographs of performers, clippings from periodicals, touring materials, etc. A special group is made up of special library materials that have accumulated in the collection since the time of the Court Orchestra: books records of concerts, handwritten documents of the library's creative and economic activities, handwritten catalogs and library cards - what can be called cultural memory.

The valuable collection of the Musical Library opens up endless spaces for thoughtful research of Russian musical culture, an outstanding role in the development of which is played by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.

The organizers of the exhibition are the Presidential Library and the Dmitry Shostakovich St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic. The partner is the M. Gorky Scientific Library of St. Petersburg State University.

To visit the exposition please first register by phone (812) 334-25-14 or send an e-mail to