The Lumina String Quartet recently journeyed to the city of Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan in central Russia to take part in the Europe/Asia 2005 Festival of Modern Music.
We had intended to create a "trip diary" during the trip, so that readers could follow our time there, but the busyness of the schedule, and the decided lack of reliable Internet facilities proved to be too daunting for such an idea.
Now that we've returned to New York, we'll be creating this record of our time in Kazan over the next couple of weeks, including impressions of the trip from the members of the Lumina Quartet and those who made the trip, violinists Asya Meshberg and Lynn Bechtold, violist Boris Deviatov, cellist Jennifer DeVore, guest clarinetist Phillip Bashor and me, publicist Jeffrey James.
First of all, a bit about Kazan and Tatarstan.
Probably the best places to start are a couple of websites. The first is the official website of the Republic of Tatarstan. The English translation is pretty good and there's a lot of really good information about Tatar culture and society. If you prefer, you can also read the site in Russian or Tatar.
The second site to visit is "Kazan 1000 Years". August 30 will be the official celebration of the city's 1000th anniversary.
Both of these sites are well worth a look.
Secondly, a bit about The Lumina String Quartet.
The Darien, Connecticut-based Lumina String Quartet, committed to bringing the best of string quartet literature to local audiences, provides a meaningful contribution to their state's and the entire New York metro area's musical life. As the ensemble in residence at Norwalk Community College, they have maintained a concert series as well as master classes since 1992.
The Lumina Quartet's educational activities include a summer festival called Chamber Music Institute for Young People. Repertory ranges from the baroque to contemporary, with an emphasis on Russian composers. You can find more about them at their website.
So, with the preliminaries taken care of, we'll begin posting more specific information, impressions and photos from our journey to the center of Russia very soon.