WASHINGTON, D.C.—On February 18, 2003, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute will launch a four-part series of programs on Russian culture titled “Culture/Kultura: Russian Influence on American Performing Arts.” The series will feature performances and/or video presentations in addition to lectures by scholars and experts in the field. The program on February 18 will focus on Russian music and its influence on America. The remaining programs held later in the year will focus on dance (in May), theater (in October), and film (in December).

“Who can think of the best of modern-day dance, or music, or theater, or film, without thinking of the enormous contributions of Russian giants such as Rostropovich, Balanchine, Stanislavsky, or Eisenstein? Who can imagine the history of the arts in the West—from the classical periods to the avant-garde—without the innovative masterpieces that came out of Russia? We hope this series of programs will both educate and entertain,” said Kennan Institute Director Blair Ruble.

The February 18 seminar will focus on the rich interplay of musical influences between Russia and America. Victor Yuzefovich, musicologist and former Wilson Center fellow, will lead the discussion. Panelists will include Victor Danchenko of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University; composer Leonid Hrabovsky; and Anne Swartz, Professor of Music, Baruch College, City University of New York. The themes of discussion will include:

· Distinctions and similarities between the two musical cultures;
· History of cultural communications between the countries;
· Aspects of influence, including Russian composers in the U.S., Russian conductors at the helm of U.S. orchestras, Russian performers on the U.S. stage, Russian founders of performing schools in the U.S., and Russians as creators of new musical institutions;
· Significance of intercultural communications for international mutual understanding.

The program will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Polaris Room of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, followed at 6:00 p.m. by a one-hour discussion and then a one-hour performance. An R.S.V.P is required to attend this event. To R.S.V.P and request directions and information on the program series, please contact the Kennan Institute at 202-691-4100.

The Kennan Institute was founded as a division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in December of 1974 with a mission to improve American expertise and knowledge about Russia and the other successor states of the former Soviet Union.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.

Media planning to cover the event should contact Sharon Coleman at 202-691-4016.