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The history of the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire, the first professional higher music school in Russia, began on the 20th of September 1862. The Conservatoire was opened thanks to the endeavours of a group of progressive musicians and educationalists of Russia. The most significant figure in the group was a renowned pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein. The best artistic forces of Russia and famous European musicians were invited to teach at the Conservatoire the violinist H. Wieniawski, the harpist . Tzabel, the flutist P. Ciardi, to name but a few. Among the first graduates from the Conservatoire in 1865 was P. I. Tchaikovsky. Vocalists F. Stravinsky, V. Zarudnaya, I. Ershov, pianists V. Safonov, M. Barinova, F. Blumenfeld, violinists J. Heifetz, E,Tzimbalist, M. Vaiman, composers A. Lyadov, S. Prokofiev, D. Shostakovich and many others were bound up with this conservatoire. The performance and teaching school that formed and developed at the Conservatoire played a significant role in the musical life of Russia: the piano school of T. Leschetizky and A. Yesipova, the violin school of L. Auer, the cello school of K. Davidov and A. Verzhbilovich, and the vocal school of H. Nissen-Saloman and E. Everardi. The impact of St. Petersburgs school of composition headed by N. Rimsky- Korsakov on the development of world music up to date is without precedent. In the 1920-s a special music school and music college were opened and added to the Conservatoire. With educational purposes the first musical theatre in the country called Opera Studio was opened. Today the St. Petersburg Conservatoire can be proud of its distinguished staff whose achievements in academic studies, performance and creative fields are widely recognized. In fact, all the leading performers from the citys Philharmonic, theatres and artistic associations are teaching professors of the Conservatoire. Both orchestras of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the orchestras of the Mariinsky and Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatres, the choir and orchestra of the Academic Capella as well as other local orchestras mainly consist of the Conservatoires alumni. The St. Petersburg Conservatoire is a prestigious Russian educational establishment and ranks among the worlds best music schools alongside with the Moscow Conservatoire, the Paris Conservatoire and the Juilliard School of Music in New York. The pride of the Conservatoire is the historic building erected in 1896, the Opera and Ballet Theatre (formerly the Opera Studio), and the impressive Glazunov Hall which due to its unique historic-architectural value and excellent acoustics is considered one of the best chamber music halls in Europe.