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Main | Archive | Issue 7/2008

Young Envoys of Russian Culture
Column: Diplomacy And Culture

The New Names Foundation was established in 1989. Its initiator and permanent director is Ivetta Voronova, the president of the foundation and an Honored Art Worker of Russia. In the nearly two decades of its work, the foundation has done much: supported more than 9,000 talented young Russians, held 450 plus master classes in Moscow and Russias regions, and opened 50 schools of art in Suzdal, Palanga, Petrozavodsk, Syktyvkar, Togliatti, Moscow, Yakutia, Feodosiya, as well as in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Over 2,300 children hailing from different regions of Russia and other CIS countries, as well as from Japan, Macedonia, Slovakia, the Republic of Korea, and other states have attended the classes or gone to the schools. Forteen personalized CDs and six poetry collections have been released, catalogs of budding artists have been published, more than 120 charitable concerts given at clinics, hospitals, and army units and a lot of other useful work done. The foundations representatives can justly be called young envoys of peace.

Mrs. Voronina, what is the main goal of the New Names Foundation?
Our main goal is finding and backing talented children through competitions and festivals, as well as developing talent in the arts. We have created a program for searching for, selecting and supporting talented children that is being very successfully implemented. Yet another goal is the holding of festivals like New Names of Moscow, New Names of St. Petersburg, New Names of the Moscow Region, and so on. We also try to identify promising children and support them at different levels. Some of them need scholarships, others want as many concerts as possible. Everyone, no matter their age, wants to be needed, and kids are no different. Summer art schools are a very important part of our work. One is the boarding school in Moscow run by the Business Administration of the President of the RF and attended by children from all over Russia. Whats more, its students have most different national backgrounds: Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Russians, Georgians, etc. It is this climate of co-creativity in which life-long friends are made. Yet another art school, located in the city of Suzdal, will hold classes for the 16th year in a row. Besides the talented Russian children and gifted children coming from CIS countries, students from other countries, such as Cameroon, France, China, Germany, Japan, etc. enroll in the school. The school is known as the UNESCO Artistic Education Courses. Experienced and renowned teachers, such as the professors of the Moscow Conservatory N.N. Shakhovskaya, T.A. Alikhanov, A.Z. Banduryansky, and S.L. Dorensky, teach the students. It is there that peoples diplomacy is born and the seeds of tolerance sown. The childrens diplomatic stream flows into a large river that brings people of different national backgrounds closer together.

What countries have the finds of your foundation visited so far?
Our children have visited a host of countries: Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, Iceland, Germany, the U.S., France, Spain, Thailand, and others. It was a great pleasure for the young musicians to perform for Elizabeth II, the Queen of England, Sophia, the Queen of Spain, and presidents of different countries. Delegations of talented children from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area and Yakutia repeatedly performed before such organizations as UNESCO, the UN, and NATO.

Moreover, we were invited to perform for Pope John Paul II and the elite of the diplomatic world at his country residence. That day the Pope said, You have set an example of how we should live in harmony with the world. All are helping Russia now, but I think that not we, but Russian children of the New Names Foundation have rendered us charitable assistance today. Later, we performed for John Paul II four more times, and each time the audience gave us a standing ovation.

I want to specifically tell about our warm friendship with the Russian Culture Forum of the German city of Gtersloh. The Forums members, headed by its chairman, Dr. Franz Kiesl, are always welcome guests at our competitions and festivals. We constantly invite them to our summer art school in Suzdal. For their part, they are always happy to attend our concerts in Gtersloh and Bielefeld. Furthermore, the Germans continuously come to at our numerous events, including the International Music Festival Stars on Lake Baikal, whose art director is Denis Matsuyev, the vice president of our foundation.

Let me ask you a traditional question: what plans does the foundation have?
Our immediate plans include preparing for the 16th season of the summer art school in Suzdal and the Third International New Names Competition due to take place on the premises of the Big Moscow Conservatory on November 24 to 30 this year. So far there are 473 applicants from Russia, CIS countries, and different other states. In addition, this year we intend to visit the Council of Europe and Bulgaria. And now we want to express our gratitude to the Russian embassies in many countries around the world. Without their support, our trips would probably not take place at such a high level.

Interviewed by Anna Pyasetskaya.
Photos from the archives of the New Names Foundation and the Diplomat magazine.


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