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Here's A Great Reason To Travel To Siberia!

Violinist Vadim Repin showing off his Trans-Siberian Art Festival T-shirt backstage at the Kimmel Center after rehearsing with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Siberia is a vast region known for its wilderness, harsh climate and role in Russian political history. But it’s also home to a large performing arts festival founded by one of its native sons, violinist Vadim Repin. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more. 

On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 1 PM on WRTI, Vadim Repin plays Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Violinist Vadim Repin talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about the Trans-Siberian Art Festival, now in 12 cities across Russia.

[The Art Festival] takes place along the route of the century-old Trans-Siberian Railway that runs from Moscow to the Pacific.

Repin is passionate about Sergei Prokofiev, who composed throughout a life that took him from rural Russia to St. Petersburg, then to America and Europe, before he returned to his homeland in 1936. 

“I think Prokofiev is such a talent,” he says. “Not geographics, neither time, has any effects on his thoughts, his talent, his musical vision.”

Repin himself has traveled the world playing music, and also has a fondness for his homeland. In 2014, he founded the Trans-Siberian Art Festival. It takes place along the route of the century-old Trans-Siberian Railway that runs from Moscow to the Pacific.

The festival, hosts local and international artists, and lets the world know about the vibrant cultural life in Siberia, starting with his home city of Novosibirsk.

“People sometimes think it’s the bears walking on the roads and playing  [the Russian dance] volakas!” he says.   “[Novosibirsk’s] actually the third-largest city in Russia. Highly cultural, with a wonderful symphony orchestra. … We have opera, ballet productions, we have new music; we have unbelievable programs for children.

As the railroad, built over 100 years ago between 1891 and 1917, connected people, so does the festival.  “This is the motto ... We have the strongest, nicest, cultural bridge from the west to the east. … And whoever comes as a guest, will leave as a friend.”

As senior producer of arts and culture, Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and producer of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series, to which she also contributes weekly intermission interviews. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.