Check out our concert schedule for IARGUS 2012, June 21-24, featuring performances in both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa!
The International Academy of Russian Music, Arts, and Culture is dedicated to the celebration of the Russian seven-string guitar and the performance of Russian and Eastern European music, dance, and poetry. In pursuing our goal, we bring the virtuosos of the Russian guitar from all corners of the globe together to perform as well as teach their skills to students.
The Russian guitar is a unique instrument, first played in the late 1700s, reaching its peak popularity in the mid-19th century. The instrument's predecessor was the English guitar, which thrived in England, Scotland, Bohemia, Germany, Poland, and the United States.
In Russia, the earliest musicians to adopt this instrument were the Czech guitarist-composers von Held, Sychra and Kamensky, but it was the Roma (“Gypsies”) who became the virtuosi of this guitar. Appealing both to guitarists and the general public, the instrument explores a spectrum of musical styles - nineteenth-century Romantic, modernist from the 1920s and 1930s, Russian Gypsy, Russian Jewish, and contemporary. Technically similar to the Western European examples, this music makes use of both the unique tuning of the Russian guitar (DGBdgbd') and the heritage of Russian folklore.
What makes the repertoire so attractive to the listener is this mingling of Western European genres, techniques, and textures with typical Russian melodies and harmonies.
The Academy, founded in 2004 by Oleg Timofeyev and Sabine Golz, and based out of Iowa City, Iowa, has produced public performances, CD recordings, publications and documentary videos. Among its early Iowa City successes were the 2004 benefit concert for the Breslan victims, the 2005 performance "Dostoevsky, Jews, and Gypsies", and in 2006, the world's first Annual International Russian Guitar Festival.
In 2007, the Festival returned, stronger than the first, proving its staying power. The crown jewel for year was the premiere of Maestro Angelo Gilaredino's Concerto di Novgorod, the first large-scale composition written for the seven-string guitar by a non-Russian composer.
A scant two weeks after the third Russian Guitar Festival, the Cedar and Iowa rivers overflowed their banks and hit both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids with a flood unparalleled in Iowa history. Over thirty feet of water swept through both cities, destroying over 800 city blocks of homes and businesses. The Academy was the first performing organization to hold a flood recovery benefit concert at the Old Brick Church less than two weeks after the water receded.
Thanks to the great flood of 2008, the Academy was forced to cancel the remainder of the 2008 season. After great deliberation and several pots of coffee, the Academy resolved to continue the Seven String Festival in the spring of 2009, no matter the consequences. The Festival returned, performing in both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and is tribute to the dedication of our performers and volunteers. As a result of the comeback of the Festival, the mayor of Cedar Rapids, Kay Halloran, declared May 30th as Russian Music, Arts, and Culture Day.
The 2009 Festival may have been the only concerts we produced during the 2008-09 season, but don’t think we weren’t working! The Academy has assisted Oleg and Sabine in a documentary film based on the life of Kamill Frautschi, Oleg’s tutor and mentor. The film continues to be shown at film festivals around the world and receives high acclaim. Click here to see a preview of Frautschi. We are currently producing other documentaries on the Russian guitar. Keep checking our News and Media page for updates.
Even though our Artistic Director is working hard in Kiev, Ukraine on a Fulbright scholarship, we always strive to bring you the best in entertainment and culture and 2010 promises to be our best year yet. On April 11, Oleg returned to Cedar Rapids with Vadim Kolpakov and performed as Zingaresca at Zins Restaurant. This concert was the first concert of the 2009-2010 season and we are thrilled to be back on stage. After performing in Cedar Rapids, Oleg headed off towards California where he performed with his colaborator in the Czar's Guitars, John Schneiderman.
Keep checking our News of Notes page for more details of the Seven-string Guitar Fetival to be held in September. Details coming soon!
The Academy thanks you for your interest and we hope to see you at a concert soon.