Introducing the UK-Russia Year of Music

We’re delighted to share details of an incredible programme celebrating the UK and Russia’s rich musical cultures.

Scores of events are scheduled over the course of the UK-Russia Year of Music, featuring an enviable lineup of talent from an array of genres, from Gilles Peterson in Moscow to George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence in St Petersburg, from public talks to composers’ workshops to performances from emerging artists through Selector Live.

The aims of the UK-Russia Year of Music are to:

  • share, celebrate and broaden appreciation of contemporary and classical music from the UK and Russia through diverse, inclusive and innovative programming
  • create and share opportunities for professional collaboration between individuals and institutions, including agencies and promoters, conservatoires and music schools and the creative industries in the UK and Russia
  • inspire audiences across the whole of the UK and the whole of Russia to build positive relations with one another through cultural exchange
  • support as many young people as possible to participate in cultural and educational activities.

The UK-Russia Year of Music builds on the successes of the UK-Russia Year of Culture in 2014, the UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature in 2016 and the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education in 2017.


UK-Russia Year of Music – Upcoming Highlights

With such a huge programme in store, we’ve picked out just some of the highlights coming up in the next few months. We’ll update you with more programme details, and features with some of the artists involved, as the year progresses.



Arzamas – the Russian online cultural platform for lectures, podcasts, articles and videos – is host through the year to essays and podcasts looking at the history of British music from the Elizabethan era to acid house, Purcell to Britten, folk music to the avant-garde. These pieces will give a perspective on the full range and diversity of British music, what makes it unique and what it has contributed to the rest of the world.


31 May – 9 June, Moscow

10th Beat Film Festival opens with Francis Whately’s new film David Bowie – the First Five Years. Murray Cummings presents Songwriter, his film about Ed Sheeran, and Seamus Murphy presents PJ Harvey – A Dog Called Money. A series of Beat Nights opens on 1 June with a party around the film Rudeboy about the story of Trojan Records. Trojan Sound System and vocalists Supa4 Creation and Chucky Bantan give a live performance followed by a DJ set by Jerry Dammers, founder of ska band The Specials. Electronic music and 80s and 90s raves feature in two films: Beats by Brian Walsh, with a themed backyard party at Strelka after the screening, and Everybody in the Place by prominent UK contemporary artist Jeremy Deller, who gives a public talk before the screening at Garage Cinema.


14 – 15 June, Moscow

Selector Live presents Worldwide FM showcase at Powerhouse by day and Pluton by night, with live performances by UK bands and DJs including Skinny Pelembe, Emma-Jean Thackray, Elsa Hewitt and Tash LC, with Gilles Peterson rounding off the night with a vinyl set.


16 June, Moscow

Public talk at Sila Vinyla by Gilles Peterson, Worldwide FM One of ten talks by key UK music leaders as part of the Future Culture programme.


22 – 24 June, Moscow

Songwriting workshop delivered by Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Second of four Selector PRO workshops run in partnership with Moscow Music School.


28 June, Ekaterinburg

Ural Music Night will feature three Birmingham bands – Riscas, The Assist and The Twang – and a Ninja Tune Showcase at Dom Pechati will showcase Ninja Tune artists Iglooghost, Nabihah Iqbal and Actress.


28 – 30 June, Ulyanovsk, Dimitrovgrad and Cheboksary

Intersection of Music Festival presented by Liverpool UNESCO City of Music and Ulyanovsk is a Cultural Capital Foundation. Representing the new Liverpool music scene, Ali Horn, Cowboys and Eyesore & The Jinx will take part in workshops and public talks and give performances in three cities.


5 – 7 July, Moscow

The Bol Festival at Zil Culture Centre, which attracts the brightest Russian and international underground musicians, will feature three UK acts as part of the UK-Russia Year of Music: Warmduscher, Black Midi and Sophie.


9 July, St Petersburg

George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence will be staged at Mariinsky Concert Hall. Benjamin’s third opera, with a libretto by Martin Crimp, is based on the story of King Edward II and Piers Gaveston, and premiered at the Royal Opera House in 2018. The composer himself will attend the Russian premiere – a concert performance by the London Chamber Orchestra conducted by Oliver Zeffman who conducted Benjamin’s second opera, Written on Skin, at the same venue in 2017.


13 July, Moscow

Selector Live presents NTS Radio Showcase For a whole day and night NTS Radio takes over the Strelka courtyard to present the best of emerging artists rotated at this well-known UK underground music radio station.


13 July, St Petersburg

Usadba Jazz festival Bahraini-British performer Yazz Ahmed, a trumpet and flugelhorn player who has worked with Radiohead and These New Puritans, performs at the annual Usadba Jazz festival on Yelagin island.


13 – 14 July, St Petersburg

Fourth Festival of Music and Modern Culture Gamma

DJ Surgeon, real name Anthony Child, who has been at the forefront of UK techno since 1994, at the former Stepan Razin factory. The next day Anthony Child performs live on stage at the Arsenal factory.


18 – 21 July, Tula

Fourth British Literature Today seminar at Tolstoy’s estate at Yasnaya Polyana explores connections between literature and music as two art forms that inspire, influence and nourish each other. Appearing from the UK are: acclaimed poet and sound artist, Lavinia Greenlaw,; interdisciplinary artist and writer, Jay Bernard; novelist and journalist, Diana Evans; writer, rock critic and musician, David Keenan; author and Observer classical music critic, Fiona Maddocks and poet, playwright, novelist, librettist and critic, Glyn Maxwell.


26 – 27 July, Moscow GoGo Penguin at Chess & Jazz Festival

Manchester-based piano trio GoGo Penguin will perform at the new Chess & Jazz Festival at Hermitage Garden. Expect outdoor chess tournaments, lectures, a headline appearance from Gregory Porter and the best food Moscow has to offer.


27 July, St Petersburg

Rinse FM stage at Present Perfect festival – in partnership with the UK radio’s Rinse FM, this stage presents emerging and established UK artists at the biggest electronic festival in St Petersburg.


3 August, Moscow

Picnic Afisha festival will launch a UK stage presenting some of the finest jazz, world and experimental electronic UK artists around with a band made up of an all Russian-British lineup set to headline.


30 August – 13 September 2019, Tchaikovsky-city

Ninth International Young Composers Academy will invite 22 young composers (10 students, 5 trainees and 7 observers) from all over the world to work with a host of international composing greats – among them will be Bryn Harrison (UK), Dmitri Kourliandski (Russia), Yan Maresz (France) and Martin Schuetler (Germany).

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