St. Petersburg Music Guide
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Music festivals allow music lovers an opportunity to hear many artists perform during a limited time frame. St. Petersburg has more music festivals than any city in Russia and perhaps the world. The majority of the world's most famous artists visit the city during the "White Nights" of summer where day and night are almost one. However, festivals are held during the spring, fall and winter seasons as well. Festivals cover a range of music from early baroque to contemporary and are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

View from St. Issacs View from St. Issacs


"Jazz Spring in St. Petersburg" International Festival

The JFC Jazz Club is responsible for the Jazz Spring in St. Petersburg International Festival in April. The JFC Club assembles an eclectic mix of musicians from around the world who welcome spring and jazz to the city. St. Petersburg swings with bossa nova, blues, ragtime, funk, acid jazz, and vocal music.


"Jazz Spring" "Jazz Spring"

Sergei Kuryokhin International Festival "SKIF"

Dedicated to contemporary artist and musician Sergei Kuryokhin, this popular festival (held in late April or May) focuses on the experimental. Music, art and film are highlighted in this festival, which is known for its alternative and cutting edge programs.

SKIF takes place in the Modern Art Center in St.Petersburg, 93 Sredny Prospect, Vasilevsky Island.

Websites: and

SKIF 2010 poster SKIF 2010 poster

International Festival of Military Brass Bands

Russian Military MarchTraditional marches and music arranged for bands are highlights of this festival. It is part of the St. Petersburg birthday celebration on the 27th of May. The festival is ushered in by the sounds and sights of military bands in the city streets and palaces.


Military bands Military bands

St. Petersburg Musical Spring International Festival

Every May, the St. Petersburg Musical Spring International Festival showcases works by prominent St Petersburg composers. Founded in 1965, this is the oldest music festival in the city. The Union of Composers and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society are the organizers.

Venues: St. Petersburg Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Cappella, St. Petersburg Cultural Center (Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace), Sheremetev Palace, the House of Composers, Evengelical-Lutheran Church of Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress.


Sheremetev Palace Sheremetev Palace


White Night's Swing Jazz Festival

In existence for over 16 years, this jazz festival is held during the city's White Nights in June when the sun never sets. David Goloschokin, founder of the Jazz Philharmonic, invites jazz musicians from all over Russia and the world to join him for many evenings of great music.


David Goloshokin David Goloschokin

Stars of the White Nights Festival

The Stars of the White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky Theatre during the season of the midnight sun from late-May through late-July is the most well known festival to St. Petersburg visitors. The festival features a series of classical ballet, opera and music events and includes performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors, as well as famous international guest stars. Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of the festival brings a stellar gathering of the musical elite to his theatre and concert hall.


Mariinsky Theatre Mariinsky Theatre

Palaces of St. Petersburg Music Festival

This festival is held during June and July at the many palaces in and around St. Petersburg. The historic venues give guests a glimpse into the past when concerts were often held in these homes of the tsars and aristocracy. A special treat is the concert in the Menshikov Palace where the famous 18th century British organ is played. The director of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Constantine Orbelian, born in San Francisco of Russian and Armenian parents, founded the festival. The Palaces Festival is just one of the many efforts by Orbelian to build a cultural bridge between Russia and the United States.


Constantine Orbelian Constantine Orbelian

International Festival of Choral Art "The Singing World"

Each July or August, choirs from around the world come to St. Petersburg for this festival of choral singing. One of the sponsors is the Glinka Capella, a hall designed expressly for choral music. Audiences are treated to choral music in churches, and small halls in the city throughout the summer months.


Choral Art Festival Choral Art Festival

International Trumpet Festival

This summer festival is a rare opportunity to hear trumpeters from around the world and Russia play music written for the trumpet. Flute and piano often accompany the performers in chamber ensembles. The festival is held at the National Library of Russia's Fontanka branch, the Sheremetev Palace next door and the Small Philharmonic hall.


Trumpet Festival Trumpet Festival

St. Petersburg International Festival of Bell Ringing

The peel of church bells reverberates through the city when this festival is held at the Peter and Paul Fortress in August. Talented bell ringers from throughout the world ring the Peter and Paul Cathedral's bells. The classics, jazz and improvisations are heard in arrangements for the bells.

Websites: and

Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral Peter and Paul Cathedral


St. Petersburg International Early Music Festival

The Early Music Festival is one of the most anticipated events in the city each September. It was started by Marc de Mauny and Andrei Reshetin in 1999 as the "Festival of Ancient Music" and brought little known and unusual medieval, renaissance and baroque pieces to St. Petersburg audiences. Today the festival has its own orchestra, named for Vivaldi, "Spring" by The Soloists of Catherine the GreatCatherine the Great and often features international performers who specialize in this repertoire, such as Italy's Il Giardino Armonico and the Akademie fur Alte Musik from Berlin. During the festival, many lectures are held on this history of the time, such as "Flowers in 17th century Dutch Still Life." The festival is held in 18th century gems as the Tauride Palace (rarely opened to the public), the palace of poet Prince G. Derzhavin, the Maltese Chapel as well as other notable locations.

Websites: and

Early Music Festival Early Music Festival
Prince Derzhavin palace Prince Derzhavin palace

Northern Flowers International Chamber Music Festival

During the month of October this festival brings young performers from around the world to St. Petersburg. Audiences hear a variety of chamber music in halls throughout the city. The festival is sponsored by Northern Flowers St. Petersburg Musical Alliance, an organization that produces CD's and concerts.


Glinka Hall Glinka Hall

St. Petersburg Festival of British Music

Held each November primarily at the Capella, the Conservatory and the Sheremetev Palace, this festival focuses on British composers. Its director Rudi Eastwood, a graduate in piano of the Royal Academy of Music, said "not only does the festival provide a much needed concert platform for young British Musicians at the outset of their professional careers, but…it exists to showcase the best of British music."


Capella Capella


International Winter Festival Arts Square

The Winter Festival Arts Square was conceived by Yuri Temirkanov as an antidote to St. Petersburg's bleak winters and also as a resurrection of the pre-revolutionary glittering social season. The festival, which takes place each December, is organized by the Philharmonic Hall and features the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestras. In addition the festival's artistic director Yuri Temirkanov, brings a bevy of talent to the stage such as the Terem Quartet, Igor Butman, Yuri Bashmet, the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. The festival is held in collaboration with the Russian Museum, the Grand Europe Hotel, and the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Philharmonic's neighbors on Arts Square.


Maxim Shostakovich and Yuri Temirkanov Maxim Shostakovich and Yuri Temirkanov

New Horizons Festival of Contemporary Music

This relatively new festival presents music by modern and contemporary composers. Many of the works are new to St. Petersburg audiences such as "Four Notations" by Pierre Boulez, and Messiaen's "L'Ascencion". The festival is held at various venues throughout the city.


III New Horizons III New Horizons

Musical Hermitage Festival and the "Amadeus" by Hermitage OrchestraMusic of the Greater Hermitage Festival

The Musical Hermitage Festival sponsored by the Hermitage Museum enlivens wintry February. The festival emphasizes a different historic theme each year and is held in the rooms of the former Winter Palace of the Romanovs. Jazz groups often round out the program. The summer Music of the Greater Hermitage is a larger festival and many of the events are held in the open-air courtyards of the museum.


For other music events at the Hermitage see

Winter Palace Winter Palace

International Festival of Jazz Guitar

Organized by the JFC Jazz Club, this festival showcases young guitarists from the Russian provinces, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Renowned guitarists from around the world participate and chase away the February blues. The JFC Jazz Club also organizes the Spring Jazz in St. Petersburg Festival each April.





Jazz Guitar Festival Jazz Guitar Festival