The Sochi Winter International Arts Festival was created and first held by Yuri Bashmet in 2008.

Today, just 13 years after its creation, the Sochi festival has become the largest winter academic arts event not only in Russia, but in Europe.

Created 13 years ago, over the years the Sochi Forum has become a powerful cultural institution, in which concert, theatrical and educational programs harmoniously coexist, ample opportunities are provided for the development and self-expression of young musicians, young talents are supported and experiments in forms, styles and genres are encouraged.

Multi-genre is the supporting conceptual pillar on which the powerful festival structure rests. Expansion of genre boundaries allows to involve drama theater and ballet, ethnomusic and jazz, video art and other forms and types of art into the orbit of the festival.

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To compare, in 2008 during the first festival only 4 concerts took place which the guests and participants could see on the stage of Sochi Winter Theatre and in the Chamber and Organ Music Hall.

As part of the 13th Festival in 2020 more than 170 events took place, including: classical, jazz and ethnic music concerts; theater and ballet performances; educational projects; international competitions; children's projects, etc.

In 2008 about 150 participants took part in the Festival. To date, given the comprehensive development of the Festival over 13 years, more than 2,500 participants have taken part in the Sochi Festival in 2020 alone. It's not about the public, but the professional participants of the festival.

Over the 13 years, more than 500 events have been held as part of the Sochi festival.

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The city of Sochi wins the competition for the right to host the Winter Olympic Games

The first Yuri Bashmet Festival is held in Sochi.


Ceremony of handing over the Olympic flag from Vancouver to Sochi

For the first time the festival concert not only in Central Sochi, but also in Krasnaya Polyana.


The beginning of the Cultural Olympics in Sochi

The Winter Festival is no longer a music festival, but an arts festival Sochi Winter International Art Festival becomes a member of European Festivals Association (EFA).


For the first time the Cultural Olympiad includes the National Selection and premiere concerts of the All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra's concerts are held in Sochi.


Olympic Games in Sochi

The Winter International Arts Festival becomes the main venue of the Cultural Olympics Finals.
The All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra and Yuri Bashmet perform at the Olympics' closing ceremony in Sochi.
The New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and Yuri Bashmet perform at the IOC Opening Ceremony in Sochi, recording all the musical backdrops for the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.


Festival Anniversary

President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin attends the opening of the Jubilee X Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi.


Holding the 13th Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi

Today, the Sochi Winter International Arts Festival is one of the top 20 festivals in Europe. It is one of the main cultural events of the winter in the world. A shining example of how in just 10 years you can create a unique large-scale cultural project and gain recognition in the international cultural community.
The festival, along with the All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra, is the main cultural legacy of the Sochi Olympics.
The Sochi Winter International Arts Festival is one of the most notable cultural events in Europe in terms of coverage in the Russian and foreign media.

Festival geography
During its existence, the Festival was visited by participants from more than 70 countries, including:
  • Abkhazia
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Hungary
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
  • the Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • USA
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • etc.
Creative groups
Every year, the Festival program involves leading Russian and foreign creative groups, including such artists as:
  • New Russia State Symphony Orchestra
  • Moscow Soloists Chamber Ensemble
  • St. Petersburg Terem Quartet Ensemble
  • Nino Katamadze & Insight
  • Jacques Lussier Trio
  • Berliner Barock Solisten Chamber Orchestra
  • Pelageya Group
  • Berlin State Opera
  • Peter Fomenko Workshop Theatre
  • Alexey Rybnikov Musical Theatre
  • Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre
  • Jean-Luc Ponti and his band
  • Milan Marionette Theatre "Carlo Colla e Figli"
  • People's collective theatre-studio "Door"
  • Theatre "Kremlin Ballet"
  • Chucho Valdes and his band
  • State Choral Chapel of Russia n.a. A.A. Yurlov
  • Leading soloists of the Volksoper and Staatsoper theaters
  • Academic Maly Drama Theater - Theater of Europe
  • Leading ballet soloists of the Grand Opera Theater
  • Frankie Gwaine and the De Dannan Group
  • French Chamber Ensemble-Trio Vanderer
  • Leading soloists of the American Ballet Theater (ABT) in New York
  • Leading soloists of the State Ballet Theatre of Berlin
  • Rohtango Group
  • State Theatre of the Nations
  • The Swingle Singers
  • Korean National Dance Ensemble
  • All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • Kuss Quartet
  • Korean Music Group "Sound+"
  • Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army named after A.A. Alexandrov
  • Igor Butman's Jazz Quartet
  • International Children's Chamber Orchestra
  • National Ballet of Slovenia
  • Robi Lakatosh and his ensemble
  • Diana Arbenina and the Night Snipers
  • Moscow Sovremennik Theater
  • Oleg Menshikov Wind Orchestra
  • Italian ballet company Imperfect
  • Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
  • Hong Kong Orchestra of Chinese National Instruments
  • L.G. Zikina Folk Ensemble "Russia"
  • Terema Orchestra
  • Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre
  • Rustavi Song and Dance Ensemble
  • A Filetta Vocal Ensemble
  • U-Theatre
  • Tula State Choir
  • Nizhny Novgorod Municipal Chamber Choir
  • Moscow Conservatory Chamber Choir
  • Abkhaz State Choral Chapel
  • Folk Choir of the Day Department of Choral and Solo Popular Singing Department of the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music
  • Male Chorus of the Moscow Conservatory
  • The Alisher Khasanov Plastic Theatre's "Mim-Orchestra"
  • The Gorky Moscow Art Theatre
  • The Christian Sounds Trio
  • The Russian Academic Youth Theatre
  • The Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre
  • ...and others.
Soloists and acknowledged masters
In different years, the Festival program has included performances by famous Russian and foreign soloists:
  • Valery Gergiev
    (conductor, Russia)
  • Emil Tabakov
    (conductor, Bulgaria)
  • Alexander Knyazev
    (cello, organ, Russia)
  • Alena Baeva
    (violin, Russia)
  • Melba Ramos
    (soprano, Puerto Rico)
  • Vadim Repin
    (violin, Russia)
  • Wu Man
    (pipa, USA-China)
  • Denis Matsuev
    (piano, Russia)
  • Renault Capuisson
    (violin, France)
  • Maxim Vengerov
    (violin, Israel)
  • Wilde Frang
    (violin, Norway)
  • Olli Mustonen
    (piano, Finland)
  • Sir James Galway
    (flute, Great Britain)
  • Angelina Krischlager
    (soprano, Austria)
  • Fazil Sey
    (piano, Turkey)
  • Barbara Frittoli
    (soprano, Italy)
  • Brian Lynch
    (trumpet, USA)
  • Radovan Vlatkovic
    (French horn, Croatia)
  • Igor Butman
    (saxophone, Russia)
  • Enrico Dindo
    (cello, Italy)
  • Abdullah Ibrahim
    (piano, South Africa)
  • Jens Lindemann
    (trumpet, Canada)
  • Robi Lakatos
    (violin, Hungary)
  • Barry Douglas
    (piano, Great Britain)
  • Gustav Rivinius
    (cello, Great Britain)
  • Akiko Suwanai
    (violin, Japan)
  • Ramin Barami
    (piano, Iran)
  • Jafer Youssef
    (oud, Tunisia)
  • Arturo Sandoval
    (trumpet, Cuba)
  • Jane Monheit
    (vocals, USA)
  • Nebojsa Zivkovic
    (marimba, Serbia)
  • Diane Schuur
    (vocals, USA)
  • Hector Ulysses Passarella
    (bandoneon, Argentina)
  • Sona Jobarteh
    (bark, Gambia)
  • Nombulelo Yende
    (soprano, South Africa)
  • Dennis Chmelensky
    (baritone, Germany)
  • Raffaella Milanesi
    (mezzo-soprano, Italy)
  • ... and many others.
Exhibitions and special projects
As part of the Sochi Festival, among other events, there are exhibition projects that are implemented in conjunction with Russian museums and other organizations:
  • A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum
  • Glinka All-Russian Museum of Musical Culture
  • Union of Concert Organizations of Russia
  • State Central Cinema Museum
  • State Literary Museum
  • State Center for Contemporary Art (ROSIZO)
  • Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
  • Dal State Museum of Russian Literature History
  • Russian National Music Museum
  • State Museum-Reserve of P.I. Tchaikovsky in Klin
  • The State Tretyakov Gallery
  • ... and others.
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Premieres 2008-2020
The festival regularly initiates the creation of new productions, compositions, commissioning instrumental works, orchestral pieces and even operas from authors
  • "Don't Leave Your Planet" A musical performance based on the fairy tale by A. de Saint-Exupéry featuring maestro Yuri Bashmet and Konstantin Khabensky
  • "White and White" Theatrical production by Swiss director, choreographer and circus artist Daniele Finzi Pasca
  • "Requiem for the Birds" Tunisian composer and singer Jafer Youssef's program
  • "Fortunatissimo" or "Hopelessly Happy Man" A musical and theatrical madness based on Beaumarchais' comedy and Rossini's opera "The Barber of Seville" - a joint work of maestro Yuri Bashmet, composer-arranger Kuzma Bodrov and director Victor Kramer
  • "The Passion of the Queen of Spades" Musical performance. Author's version by Yuri Bashmet and Pavel Safonov
  • Piece for Chinese Voice and Orchestra К. Bodrov (Russia) and Zhiyi Wang (China)
  • "The Tale of Boris and Gleb, Their Brothers Yaroslav the Wise and Svyatopolk Okainny, Dashing Thieves and the Good People of Russia" А. Tchaikovsky. Choral Opera
  • Suite for 2 orchestras А. Tchaikovsky. Chinese Folk Instruments Orchestra and Academic Chamber Orchestra
  • "Omega" А. Gondai (Japan). Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
  • "King Lear" А. Syumak (Russia). Pieces for viola and chamber orchestra
  • Concerto for Viola and Orchestra V. Voronov (Germany)
  • "Phos Hilaron" V. Voronov (Germany)
  • "Snow Way" Ying Wang (China). For viola and strings
  • "When Mountains Meet the Sea" A joint program by the Rustavi Ensemble (Georgia) and A Filetta Ensemble (Corsica)
  • "Digital Sunrise" Neural Network Yandex. Composition for viola and orchestra
  • Concerto for guitar and symphony orchestra О. Bianchi (Switzerland)
  • Symphony No 1 N. Campogrande (Italy)
  • "Fantastic Carmen" Yuri Bashmet's fantasy based on the works of Merime, Bizet and Shchedrin
  • The Mozart Gala concert The concert organized in conjunction with the Salzburg Festival
  • "La Stravaganzza" Program by the baroque ensemble Soqquadro Italiano
  • "The Tale of Igor's Campaign" А. Tchaikovsky. Oratorio based on the old Russian epic for reciter, solo viola, symphony and folk orchestra
  • "Parallel Worlds. Part Two" Joint project of maestro Yuri Bashmet and the State Russian Museum
  • Second Flute and String Orchestra Concerto Michael Nyman
  • "Sochi. A Non-Resort Novel" Documentary-musical play. Together with the Gorky Moscow Art Academic Theater
  • "Classics and Rock" A joint programme by Yuri Bashmet, Diana Arbenina, the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and the Nochnye Snaipery band
  • Concerto for Viola and Orchestra К. Bodrov (Russia)
  • "Ruslan and Lyudmila" Musical and literary composition for elocution and symphony orchestra based on "Ruslan and Lyudmila" by A. S. Pushkin
  • «Across Differences» A. Singleton (USA)
  • "A Guide to the Orchestra" К. Bodrov (Russia)
  • Song V to lyrics by Fyodor Sollogub P. de Klerk (Belgium)
  • "On the wings of the wind flying round the world..." К. Bodrov (Russia). For viola, chopo-chor, bagpipes, bandoneon, pipa, domra, guitar, oud, balalaika bass, piano and string orchestra
  • Spanish Night With Sergio Bernal
  • "Illusion" К. Bodrov (Russia). For viola and symphony orchestra
  • "UZU" for symphony orchestra Т. Hosokawa (Japan)
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The Sochi Winter International Arts Festival is one of the brightest examples of how it is possible to create a world-scale cultural project in Russia today and achieve recognition in the international cultural community in just over 10 years.