Hidden Gems of Russian Romantic Music

is an international exchange program in collaboration with the Sweelinck Academy of the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music. Young talents (children aged 13-16) from Russia and the Netherlands will join each other on stage to perform works of the rarely programmed Russian Romantic composers that the Dutch audience is less familiar with.


The Project

The program “Hidden Gems of Russian Romantic Music” is created by Maria Milstein, an internationally acclaimed violinist, who holds a teaching position at the Conservatory of Amsterdam; and supported by Mikhail Khokhlov, a famous Russian conductor, who has been the director of the Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music for the last 30 years. The project aims to offer the Dutch audience a deeper insight into Russian Romantic music and get them acquainted with the composers who are rarely performed in the Netherlands. But then in a very unusual form – by means of an international collaboration between the young talents (children 13-16 years old), 3 from the famous Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music, and 3 from the Sweelinck Academy, the preparatory school for the Conservatory of Amsterdam.

Based on her deep knowledge and musical experience, Maria Milstein put together a unique program featuring the works of Glière, Cui, Rubinstein and Glinka. The concerts have a special interactive format. To reach out to younger audiences, Maria will present each piece on stage. She will tell the public about the composers, introduce the pieces and make short interviews with the musicians.


The Concerts

Within the framework of this project, four concerts will take place:





Thursday, 24 October

Bethlehemkerk Amsterdam-Noord (Zwanenplein 34)


Friday, 25 October

Vondelkerk Amsterdam (Vondelstraat 120)


Saturday, 26 October

Conservatorium van Amsterdam (free admission)

Sunday, 27 October

Hermitage, Amsterdam

The first one in Bethlehemkerk Amsterdam-Noord will offer our public a unique social experience, combining great chamber music with an exquisite Russian-cuisine walking dinner, and a meet-and-greet with the musicians. The concert will start at 19:00 (it lasts 1h 15 min without a break), and afterwards the audience will have a chance to mingle around a Russian gourmet buffet, exchanging impressions, enjoying a feel-good atmosphere and sharing their passions with the musicians.

The concert in the Vondelkerk in Amsterdam has an earlier start than usual, so that parents (grandparents) can share this experience with their children – it begins at 19:00 and ends at 20:15 (without a break). The concert at the Conservatory of Amsterdam will gather friends, relatives and class-mates of the Dutch young talents who take part in the project. The final concert of the project will take place at the Hermitage Amsterdam, a location that emphasizes the long-standing cultural cooperation between the two countries.


The Program

Mikhail Glinka – Sonata for viola and piano in d Minor

Reinhold Glière – Duets op.39 for violin and cello

Anton Rubinstein – Romance op.44 for violin and piano

César Cui – Orientale for cello and piano

Mikhail Glinka – Grand Sextet for piano and strings in E flat Major


The Participants

Artemy Sokolovsky 15 y.o. – piano

Elena Krivorotova, 13 y.o. – fluit

Sofia Maslova, 15 y.o. – viola

Mara Mostert, 15 y.o. – violine

Isaak Lottman, 16 y.o. – cello

Tea Borstell, 16 y.o. – double base


Development of  Young Talents

The project brings together Dutch and Russian young talents. The collaboration of musicians from two different cultures will enrich their experience and contribute to their professional growth and development, offering them a unique opportunity to work together and to learn from each other on an international level.

Maria Milstein explains: “Ever since I started teaching at the Sweelinck Academy of the Conservatory of Amsterdam, I have dreamt of organizing a project in collaboration with other renowned music institutes, so that young talented students from different countries could come together to perform a wonderful chamber music program. My first steps as a young violin student were taken at the Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music, and I did not want to miss an opportunity to finally make a bond between these two great music institutions: the Sweelinck Academy in Amsterdam and the Gnessin School in Moscow. In the course of this project, 6 selected students from both schools will prepare a program together and give 4 concerts in Amsterdam. I will coach them and perform several pieces together with the young musicians myself, thus sharing my experience as a chamber musician with the students”.

This project will contribute to the professional development of the young musicians and offer them an extraordinary opportunity to learn from each other at an international level. This cultural exchange program will become a unique professional experience for them that will benefit greatly their international career in the future. In addition to the joint rehearsals and performances, the young musicians will also follow a cultural program, including visits to musea in Amsterdam and the Concertgebouw.


Russian Romantic Music

Romanticism is a direction in art originated in Europe in the early XIX century. It became a kind of opposition to classicism, where the leading principle is the opposition (dreams and everyday life, ideal world and everyday life), created by the creative imagination of the composer. This style was popular with creative people until the forties of the XIX century.

Influential composers of the Romantic era embrace Ludwig van Beethoven (in his later works), Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Gioachino Rossini, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, and many others, including P.I. Tchaikovsky and S. Rachmaninoff. Russian Romanticism flourished from the XIX century until the first quarter of the XX century – however, most of the composers were and are still very rarely performed outside Russia.

Mikhail Glinka, “the father of the Russian music” as he is often referred to, is hardly ever played in the West. Best known for his operas (“Ivan Susanin” or “Ruslan and Lyudmila”), Glinka also composed beautiful chamber music, including his ingenious Grand Sextet for piano and strings. César Cui wrote beautiful miniatures, such as the Orientale for cello and piano. Anton Rubinstein, the founder of St. Petersburg Conservatory and a world-famous virtuoso pianist, was a highly respected composer as well. Reinhold Glière, considered the heir of the Russian Romantic musical tradition, created fascinating works in which he incorporated elements of Russian folklore in a unique manner.

As the result of this project, the young talented musicians from Moscow, together with their peers from Amsterdam and the internationally acclaimed violinist Maria Milstein, will become the ambassadors of the Hidden Gems of Russian Romantic Music to the Dutch audience.