The Classics hosted the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in the UAE, and the UNESCO Artist for Peace, violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov with his Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra across two nights, was running at Dubai World Trade Centre.
What does being a UNESCO artist for peace involve? How did you obtain that honour and what did it feel like to be named as such?
I was very honoured to receive such a title. I guess it is mainly because of my humanitarian and charity activities. I have been in many parts of the world either alone or with my orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, and we always left a humanitarian footprint where we performed. For instance, in Japan we performed to support the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who are still suffering from the bombing of those cities. In Turkey, we performed to support orphaned children and we did the same in Spain.
In 1994 I founded the “Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation” aimed at humanitarian, artistic and educational targets, such as improving life standards for orphans and disabled children. So far, my foundation has carried out 115 surgeries for children from different nationalities including open heart surgeries. Besides that, I always donate money to a charity organisation called “Train of Smile” which provides surgeries to children who suffer from cleft lips and palates in order to have a beautiful smile. My foundation also creates conditions for creative development of young talents, i.e. providing musical instruments, allocating scholarships and grants, attracting the most talented musicians, children and teenagers, to “Moscow Virtuosi” performances and at the Colmar Music Festival, organising international art exhibitions for young artists, etc. Through the years of its existence the Foundation has furnished tangible assistance to hundreds of children and young talents.
You perform all over the world, how do you find the appetite for classical music? Is it as strong as ever?
I know that classical music will never die, the reason is that there are human emotions coded in those music scores and a human being is like a big heart full of emotions, compassion and excitement. And there is something very important for everyone in classical music as it talks about eternal things; love, death, compassion, joy, pain...Music is my life! Music is the air I breathe, I can’t live without music...
What made you first pick up the violin? What is it about the instrument that resonates with you?
My mother, she was a pianist herself and studied at the Leningrad music conservatory. She inspired me and introduced me into the world of classical music. My current instrument is the violin of Antonio Stradivari which I play at my public performances. This instrument does not belong to me and it was given to me for life ownership by my admirers.
How does it feel to be performing in Dubai? Is the UAE and the Middle East known for its love of classical music?
I think Russia has a mission called synthesis of arts as it is located between Asia and Europe and I think here is where we could find the “points of contact”. I love Dubai. I hope that one day I will be able to perform in Abu Dhabi as well with The National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia.