Frankly speaking, music lovers from Kaliningrad go to Poland to listen to high-quality music live. There are more and more festivals each year in the neighbouring countries, and the names on the posters are so outstanding that any musical event in Kaliningrad is undoubtedly in a difficult situation to compete. However this fact does not mean that you should deny yourselves the pleasure of getting closer acquainted with music in Kaliningrad whilst staying in Europe. Here are five main reasons to do it.

1. Tchaikovsky is everything for us

 Kaliningrad Oblast Philharmonic
The church of the Saint Family, which nowadays is home to the Kaliningrad Oblast Philharmonic

Russia has been the Motherland for many great composers. Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninov, Prokofiev (the list can include more names) are well-known all over the world. Although our pop and rock music is somewhere around the lowest position, our classical music is at the very top. You can enjoy listening to artistic performances of classical music in Kaliningrad and at the same time see the monuments of architecture from the inside; namely in the Cathedral, the Philharmonic and the Drama Theatre. On Sundays there is a rather packed schedule of concerts of classical music in the Cathedral. The Philharmonic can impress not only with being homed in the building of the former Church of the Holy Family (constructed at the beginning of the XX century), but with a diverse repertory from classical to rock music, as well. Every month the local symphony orchestra conducted by a charismatic conductor and composer, Arkady Feldman, performs a wonderful concert at the Drama Theatre, erected on the foundation of the former German Music Theatre.

2. Jazz in the park

Kaliningrad City Jazz
The international festival «Kaliningrad City Jazz» 2016. Photo by jazzfestival.ru

The international festival «Kaliningrad City Jazz» is for the residents of the most western region of Russia like a cow is for Indians. It is sacred. Nobody ever speaks of this music event badly as there is nothing bad to speak of. Every year, starting from 2006, its arrangers please city dwellers and guests of the city with the best jazz, carefully collected from throughout the world. Over the past ten years more than 80 musicians from the USA, Israel, Poland, Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain have performed at the festival. Local musicians and famous jazz musicians from other Russian cities certainly do not stand aside, either. If you want to sit on the bench in the city park and listen to jazz together with us, we shall welcome you in Kaliningrad in August. Festival news can be seen here. An English version is available.

3. Music instead of suntan

After two years of absence the main summer open-air festival, with no specific genre preferences, «Amber Beach», returned to the Kaliningrad region. In 2016 BrainStorm, GusGus and Enter Shikari performed at the festival, but it was also interesting for those who were eager to listen to just Russian participants – there was a legendary Moscow band «Megapolis» and there were local bands as well. «Amber Beach» took place on the beach of Yantarny and it seems to have found its home at last. So there are definite possibilities for the festival to take place next August. Welcome!

4. Its Majesty the Organ

The organ in the Cathedral Kaliningrad
The organ in the Cathedral

Kaliningrad can be a pleasant surprise for the organ music lovers with the two organs in the Cathedral (the merits of one is praised so excessively by specialists that they consider it to be one of the best in Europe). Organ music is always played on Sundays on Kant Island, and if you arrive in ex-Königsberg in autumn, you will be able to be at the international contest of organists, which takes place both in the Cathedral and in the Philharmonic, which is lucky to have an organ too. By the way, you can listen to organ music not only in Kaliningrad. There is a cosy hall of the company «Makarov» in Svetlogorsk, with the instrument made by the firm «Hugo Meier» (Germany). You will not be looking for it for long – an attractive building with excellent acoustics it is located in the most picturesque park of the resort at the place of the destroyed prewar Chapel «Virgin Mary – Star of the Sea».

5. We weren’t born yesterday

The location of Kaliningrad close to Europe has influenced local music. For example, in our city musicians were the first in Russia to start playing Brit-pop. The band «Guitars Stereo» was the pioneer. Though this band hardly performs nowadays, but if you are lucky, you will be able to visit one of their concerts. At the «Amber Beach», 2016, they were making their legendary “comeback” after a long period of silence. It would also not be a bad idea if you could visit a concert of one more local legend – the band «London Paris». The band «Bigudi» regularly remind us of their presence by performing with the local dramaturgist Eugeny Grishkovets. Their music will scarcely be interesting for those who do not know Russian though. But the electronic discoveries of one of the project’s participants, Daniil Akimov, may suit lovers of experimental music to the ground.

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