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In 1887, to the 25th anniversary of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire – the first higher music school in Russia – the emperor Alexander III issued an order to rebuild the building of the Bolshoi Theatre located on the Theatre place for the Conservatoire. The contest was arranged for the best project in which Vladimir Nikolya’s project (1852-1902) was approved. For Vladimir Nikolya this work became the top of his career as an engineer-architect. The rebuilding of the theatre lasted up to 1896 and coasted around 2 millions rubles, a rather big sum for that period.

On the second floor of the Conservatoire V.Nikolya designed a concert hall for 600 places and named it “The hall of quartets’ meetings”. To obtain the special acoustic effect the walls dressed in the fir planks and the brickwork were spaced well apart creating the air cushion. V.Nikolya has decorated the interior with care. Its decor combined the early classicism with the elements of rococo, the symmetry with the freedom of elegant central lines. The harmonious unity with the decor formed the basis of the ceiling painting and represented Apollon-Mussaget, his wife Kaliopa and his son Orfey, as well as muses Poligimniya and Evterpa.

The plafond decorated by the artist Adrey Ryabushkin in 1894, was restored several times and practically destroyed during the World War II. In 1970 the group of artists recreated the picturesque hall plafond. The artist-restorer A. Treskin followed the sketches of A. Ryabushkin in creating this plafond.

Originally the hall housed the organ of the Dresden “Walker” company which has been replaced in 1961 by another one from the Czechoslovak “Riger” company.

The wooden chairs, ordered from Vienna, and the wooden framework created the remarkable acoustic effect. The cut-glass chandeliers and girandoles emphasized the festive decoration of the hall.

In 1920 the Malyi Hall was named after the Conservatoire director A.K. Glazunov (1865-1936) whose life was closely connected with the Conservatoire during a quarter of the century.

Since the first concert, held in the January 12, 1896, and up to our days the Glazunov Concert Hall, is a center of the academic and artistic Conservatoire life. Being the training stage and at the same time the open concert hall, the Glazunov Hall took care of the spiritual aura of the Conservatoire, increased its traditions and accumulated the artistic energy of multiple musician generations performed there.

Running the Conservatoire building during 105 years without major repairs caused a new restoration.

In the context of the Project regarding the reconstruction of the Saint Petersburg center and in accordance with the contest arranged among culture higher schools, the Culture Fund of the World Bank granted the Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatoire USD 160 000 for the restoration of Glazunov Concert Hall. The Russian Government gave extra 5 853 000 rubles (USD 205 000) for repairing rooms adjacent to the hall.

In the course of the reconstruction the heating system, electrical equipment and wood floor were replaced; the balcony backup abutment was reconstructed; the painting, stucco mouldings, windows, doors, chairs, chandeliers were restored; the front staircase and the vestibule were repaired.

During the restoration of such an architecture monument, it was very important to find the special methods for saving and recreating original historical interior details which could not damage the real acoustic effect. All these restoration methods were developed by the “Nika” company specialists together with “Spetsproektrestavratsija” Research Institute under control of the State Committee of the Monuments and Culture Protection.

The grand opening ceremony of the Glazunov Hall after its restoration took place on the 18 May of 2001. This ceremony was dated for the opening of the First Festival “International Conservatoire Week”.

The concert activity renascence of the Glazunov Hall, which is one of the best chamber halls in Europe owing to its historical and architectural values and its special acoustics, is a present of the first Russian Conservatoire for the Saint Petersburg’s 300th Anniversary.

Glazunov Hall is still used as a training stage. Each year more than 100 of open concerts are held in the Conservatoire, in which a lot of students, candidates, graduates and professors of the Conservatoire, as well as invited musicians from all over the world, take part. Many Saint Petersburg festivals also perform there the chamber and symphonic concerts. The Conservatoire stage receives any kind of celebrations, seminars, contests, realizes joint creative projects with Russian and Foreign partners.

Following the traditions of the musical enlightenment, the Conservatoire creates season ticket cycles in the Glazunov Hall for the childish and youthful audience, carries out charitable actions for war and blockade veterans.

Every year the Hall becomes the central stage for the “International Conservatoire Week” festival in order to integrate the Old Russian musical institute into the international musical procedure and to assign the status of the Hall as an international stage of the musical high school community.

He history of the Conservatoire Hall is continued…

The Glazunov Hall
The Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatoire
Teatralnaya square, 3, Saint Petersburg
190000, Russia
Tel.\Fax: (812) 571 0506, (812) 571 1074.

Director – Lidia Volchek
Musical editor – Sergei Pogurtsev
Editors, translators – Svetlana Sebestinas, Anastasia Sinaiskaya