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Entries / Music Societies and Circles (general)

Music Societies and Circles (general)

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Art and Literary Associations, Circles

MUSICAL SOCIETIES AND CIRCLES, official associations of music lovers with their own charters and rights to hold public concerts and other activities. There were two associations founded in the last third of the 18th century: the Music Club (1772-77) and the New Music Society (1778-1810), both situated in Prince Kurakin's residence near the Politseysky Bridge (now 15 Nevsky Prospect) and in Kusovnikov's residence near the Krasny Bridge on the Moika River Embankment. With Baron P. G. Demidov and Baron A. A. Rahl among its founders, it was joined by up to 600 members, including Count V. N. Golovin, Count A. S. Stroganov, D. S. Bortnyansky, I. A. Dmitrevsky, and D. I. Fonvizin. A number of concert associations were established in the early-to-mid 19th century, setting educational goals and striving for a higher level of musical performance. The Philharmonic Society (1802) and F. P. Lvov and A. F. Lvov's Music Academy (1827-28) were founded, the latter holding its concerts at the Kushelev-Bezborodko residence at 7 Pochtamtskaya Street. The Society for Music Lovers was established in 1828 with Count K. V. Nesselrode, D. L. Naryshkin, and Prince N. P. Kurakin as its founding members, and Count Mikhail Y. Vielgorsky (see the Vielgorsky Family) as the musical director, holding its concerts in Naryshkin's residence until 1832. The Symphonic Society was founded in 1840 and operated until 1950, with General F. F. Schubert, Admiral F. P. Litke, and A. I. Grimm as its directors, and A. A. Ber conducting their concerts from October until Lent at the Petrovskoe School at 62 Fontanka River Embankment, as well as in the Chapel and at the University. The Concert Society founded by A. F. Lvov was active in 1850-82, totalling 255 members in 1855, including Counts Vielgorsky, Prince V. F. Odoevsky, the Stasov Family, V. P. Engelgardt, Grand Princes Alexander Nikolaevich, Mikhail Nikolaevich and Nikolay Nikolaevich, and Prince P. G. Oldenburgsky. A society called University Concerts stood out among semi-professional musical gatherings of nobility between 1842 and the late 1850s. Although public music activities became more and more professional from the mid-19th century, official amateur associations grew in number as Russian society became more liberal. Musical culture developed through concert activity and education conducted by the Russian Music Society from 1859, the Free Music School from 1862, and Belyaev's Circle from the early 1880s (see M. P. Belyaev). They all thrived until 1917, but their role in the 20th century was not as remarkable. A number of specialised professional circles sprang up, such as the Society of Quartet Music, later renamed the Society of Chamber Music (1872-1917), and the Modern Music Parties (1901-17). The Petersburg Society of Music Lovers opened in 1879 with 26 member-performers, including Baron V. A. Frederiks, Baron K. K. Stakelberg, and P. K. Albrecht, and Grand Prince Mikhail Mikhailovich, who also headed it from 1886. The society held its meetings at the Solyanoy Settlement, and did not admit professional musicians or women. By the early 20th century, there were many amateur associations of various types of music - choirs, brass players, players of ethnic Russian instruments, guitarists, mandolin players, zither players, symphonic and orchestral enthusiasts - and various nationalities - Russian, Slavonic, Jewish, Lettish, Finnish, and Estonian. German choir associations were especially notable, such as Singakademie (1818-1914) operating under the Reformatskoe School in the 20th century at 38 Moika River Embankment, and Liedertafel (1840-1910s) located at 1 Demidov Lane in recent years. Numerous musical drama associations performed parts of operas, full operas, and operettas engaging amateurs only. A special trace in music history was left by the Musical Drama Circle of Amateurs founded in 1877 by V. V. Karmin, Count A. V. Sollogub, and Count A. D. Nesselrode, all of them life-guard officers of the First Artillery Brigade, situated at 18 Bolshaya Morskaya Street at first, and 20 Malaya Morskaya Street in 1900s, holding its musical gatherings at Demut's Hall at 38 Moika River Embankment and at Pavlova's Hall at 13 Troitskaya Square. The circle was the first to regularly stage Russian operas in St. Petersburg, including P. I. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin in 1882 and M. P. Mussorgsky's Khovanschina in 1886. Count A. D. Sheremetev's Music History Society was the last large music enterprise founded in 1910 on the basis of Sheremetev's own choir and orchestra, which had been giving public symphonic concerts since 1898. The society held free historic concert-lectures at the hall of the Nobility Assembly. It also offered free music classes, arranged the installation of memorial plaques to M. A. Balakirev, A. N. Serov, and Mussorgsky, as organized an all-Russian fund-raising campaign for a monument to Tchaikovsky. The Russian premiere of R. Wagner's Parsifal was held at the People's House Theatre on 21 December 1913. Concert and charity societies dissolved after October 1917, with amateur associations reorganised into amateur musician unions, and professional societies collected into the Association of Modern and Proletarian Music and the Union of Composers later on.

Reference: Петровская И. Ф. Музыкальное образование и музыкальные общественные организации в Петербурге, 1801-1917 гг.: Энцикл. СПб., 1999.

A. L. Porfiryeva.

Albrecht Evgeny Karlovich
Alexander Nikolaevich, Grand Prince (see Alexander II)
Balakirev Mily Alexeevich
Belyaev Mitrofan Petrovich
Ber A.A.
Bortnyansky Dmitry Stepanovich
Demidov Pavel Grigorievich
Dmitrevsky (real name Narykov) Ivan Afanasievich
Engelgardt Vasily Pavlovich
Fonvizin Denis Ivanovich
Frederiks V.A., Baron
Golovina Varvara Nikolaevna, Countess
Grimm A.I.
Karmin V.V.
Kurakin Alexey Borisovich, Duke
Kurakin N.P., Duke
Kushelev-Bezborodko Alexander Andreevich, Gracious Prince
Kusovnikov M.S.
Litke Fedor Petrovich
Lvov Alexey Fedorovich
Lvov Fedor Petrovich
Mikhail Mikhailovich, Grand Prince
Mikhail Nikolaevich, Grand Prince
Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich
Naryshkin Dmitry Lvovich
Nesselrode A.D., Count
Nesselrode Karl Vasilievich, Count
Nikolay Nikolaevich (Sr.), Grand Prince
Odoevsky Vladimir Fedorovich
Oldenburgsky Peter (Konstantin Friedrich Peter) Georgievich, Prince
Pavlova Anna Pavlovna
Rall Alexander Franz, Baron
Schubert Fedor Fedorovich
Serov Alexander Nikolaevich
Sheremetev Alexander Dmitrievich, Count
Sollogub A.V., Count
Stakelberg K.K., Baron
Stroganov Alexander Sergeevich, Count
Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich
the Stasovs
Vielgorsky Mikhail Yurievich
Wagner Richard

Bolshaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 18
Fontanka River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 62
Grivtsova Lane/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1
Malaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 20
Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 38
Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city, house 15
Pochtamtskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 7
Rubinsteina St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 13

Петровская И. Ф. Музыкальное образование и музыкальные общественные организации в Петербурге, 1801-1917 гг.: Энцикл. СПб., 1999

The subject Index
Philharmonic Society
State University, St. Petersburg
Musical Society, The Russian
Free Music School
Evenings of Contemporary Music, musical society
Solyanoy Settlement
Reformed School
Composers, The Union of