As the lockdown restrictions are eased, music concerts can be attended live again. Our regular contributor Yulia Chaplina, the Artistic Director of the 2nd Prokofiev Festival told us about planning the events and pointed out highlights of the programme. The festival with live performances will take place across London venues over 25-28 May 2021.

Elena Shampanova: Yulia, you are organising the 2nd Prokofiev Festival straight after the lockdown between 25 – 27 May, when did you start planning it?

Yulia Chaplina: The planning started on the day the prime minister has announced the clear roadmap so as soon as I discovered that we will be able to have live concerts from 17 May, I was very hopeful that we can actually have a live Festival.

ES: What is so special about this Festival?

Yulia Chaplina: First of all, it was done in collaboration with the Prokofiev Family – his descendants live in London, I am hugely grateful to the family for their continuous support. This connection makes the Festival very special to me – I feel an extraordinary connection to Prokofiev’s music when I play it, and also, when I play the works by his close contemporaries. It is also special because I love playing Russian music in the UK and this Festival features quite a few Russian composers (such as Lyadov, Medtner, Gubaidulina) whose works are not performed very often.

2nd Prokofiev Festival Programme

ES: Please tell us more about the programme

Yulia Chaplina: The concerts on 25 & 26 May are solely with Russian Music (Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Weinberg).  The concerts on 27 & 28 include music by Prokofiev’s contemporaries (Debussy, Poulenc, Ligeti, Gubaidulina, Szymanowski, etc).

The absolute highlights of the programme are the Prokofiev Sonata for violin and piano and Pieces from Shostakovich’s Film music (Moscow – Cheremyoushki, Michurin, Gadfly, etc) on 26 May at Kings Place, Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata on 25 May and also this year we have Talented Children and Amateur Pianists concert – I am very excited about these additions to the Festival.

ES: What are the challenges you face in current restrictions?

Yulia Chaplina: The distance between players has been to be increased, it makes it quite nerve-racking to play chamber music at the moment. But the biggest challenge I think is for the audience, the audience numbers are still limited and the tickets are disappearing fast.

ES: Thank you, Yulia and good luck with the concert!