The international festival for contemporary music Moscow Forum was organized for the first time in 1994. The chief aim of the festival is in the integration of contemporary Russian music into an overall European cultural context, the demonstration of the newest tendencies in the art of composition, juxtaposing music by composers from various countries and various schools. In the festival’s programs new works by Russian composers are performed in the same concerts along with new compositions by their colleagues from abroad, whereas the 20th century classic works by composers from other countries is heard alongside compositions of the Russian avant-garde trends of the 1910-1920s, which after all the prohibitions turned out to be undeservedly forgotten and thrown out of concert life.
This festival is conceived as a cultural dialogue between diverse countries. As a rule, the programs of the festival bring together Russian music and music of one of European country: Russia-Germany (1995, 2013), Russia-the Netherlands (1996), Russia-Austria (1996), Russia-France (1990, 2010), Russia-Italy (1997, 2011) and others.
Each time the programs of the festival are integrated by new relevant themes, usually timed to crucial events in the history and the cultures of both countries: “Retrospective –- Perspective”, 1995 (towards the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II), “Contemporary music: Freedom or Engagement?” (towards the 300th anniversary of the sojourn of Peter I in Holland), “Music of the Time of Twilight of Empires” (Austrian-Russian Festival), and “Getrennt durch Stachelmusik” (Beyond Barbed Music, German-Russian Festival).
The irreplaceable participant of all of these festivals is the Studio for New Music ensemble, which in short period of time has developed itself to the highest stature of international ensembles. The festival’s programs provide for joint performances of Russian musicians along with performers of the best contemporary music ensembles from other countries. The members of the Studio for New Music ensemble have performed numerous times with musicians from Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Schoenberg-ensemble and other leaders in the domain of contemporary music performers. In their turn, many well-known musicians have performed together with the Studio for New Music ensemble, among them Frances-Maria Uitti (cello), Harrie Starreveld (flute), Helen Bledsoe (flute), Ernest Rombout (oboe) and others.
Also among the musicians who have appeared successfully in the programs of the Moscow Forum festival, mention must be made of the Mark Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble, the Roslavets Trio, Pokrovsky Folk Ensemble and such well-known soloists as Tigran Alikhanov, Alexey Lyubimov, Vladimir Tonkha, Ekaterina Kitchigina, Alexander Ivashkin, Ivan Sokolov and others.
The evidence of the authority of this festival is in the fact that its concerts include some of the most famous orchestras of Europe, including the Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, the XXth Century, Volharding, Alternance, Het Trio, Schoenberg Ensemble, ensemble recherche, die Reihe and others.
Guests of the festival were composers Helmut Lachenmann (2013), Ivan Fedele, Nicola Sani (2011), Klaas de Vries (2003), David Gompper, Tapio Tuomela (2001), etc.
The international recognition of this youthful Moscow-based contemporary music festival could be perceived by numerous reviews by some of the most important Russian and foreign publications, including Segodnya, Itogi, Moscow News, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Kommersant-Daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Kultur und Medien, 20th Century Music, International Herald Tribune and numerous others, as well as radio programs Echo Moskvy, Orfey, Radio Rossii, Nemetskaya volna, Deutschlandfunk, BBC and others.
In addition the framework of the festival includes organizing international musicological conferences, which feature many highly respected music scholars, as well as lectures and workshops given by famous musicians.
The Moscow Forum contributes to the further development of Russian musical culture and its integration into the overall European cultural context.