The programme of the State Hermitage's The Hermitage Music Academy is intended to revive the traditions of the so-called Hermitages which were popular during the reign of Catherine the Great and which took place in the halls of the Winter Place and in the Hermitage Theatre.
The Hermitage Music Academy is not only a new educational institution but also one whose programme aims to foster cultural and spiritual contact between people in preserving and resurrecting the heritage of classical music.
Founded in 1997, this unique programme was preceded by the opening of the Hermitage Theatre after its reconstruction in 1991 and the award in 1994 of the status of the Orchestra of the State Hermitage to the St Petersburg Camerata ensemble.
The Hermitage Music Academy programme includes a rich variety of music, from chamber concerts and master-classes to magnificent gala performances. Its remit is to revive many musical masterpieces, to provide a platform for the best masters of our time, to introduce new names and to display the world-famous museum's treasures through the prism of music.
The splendid Hermitage Theatre, the exquisite rooms of the museum and its architecturally amazing courtyards have all become the concert venues in which the music of the Hermitage is presented to the public. These are the symbolic Academa Gardens where music brings happiness to connoisseurs and fans alike.
1997 also saw the creation of the Hermitage Music Academy Charity Foundation whose Board of Trustees includes Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the Hermitage (Chairman of the Board), and conductor Saulius Sondeckis, art director of the State Hermitage Orchestra. The foundation participates in such concerts of the Hermitage Music Academy programme as the Musical Treasures of the Hermitage, Debuts and Premiers in the Hermitage Theatre, Just Mozart!, All the Symphonies by Beethoven in the Hermitage (2000-2001), Beethoven Music in the Hermitage, The Window to Europe, Italian Music in the Italian Sky-light Halls, Music Collections, Venetian Memories (Antonio Vivaldi music in the Hermitage rooms), Chamber Opera World, Russian Church Choir Music in the Great Church of the Winter Palace (2002-2003), Music of Joy, Youth to St Petersburg, the annual international festivals of the Musical Hermitage and the Music of the Greater Hermitage. The concerts take place in the magnificent rooms of the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage and the New Hermitage, the Hermitage Theatre and in summer time in the Great Courtyard of the Winter Palace.
The Director of the Hermitage Music Academy Foundation and Art Director of the programme is the composer Sergey N. Evtushenko.