The island of Sakhalin is in Russia's Far East. It is 7 time zones away from Moscow and 9 time zones away from New York. In 1997 Ensemble XXI became the first orchestra for a decade to travel to the island  which is almost the length of New Zealand and home to Russia's red caviar. On this beautiful island with its pristine forests, sparkling rivers and lakes filled with fish, the orchestra found amazingly enthusiastic audiences. One could describe Sakhalin as "the island of children". Throughout the island the halls were filled to capacity, with over 60 % of the audience made up of children and teenagers starved for classical music. On the eve of the orchestra's tour children were ringing a Moscow Radio station to express their excitement at the concerts that they were about to hear, the first in their lives. During the first Ensemble XXI Moscow tour a love affair between the island and the orchestra began. Ensemble XXI soon discovered the appalling conditions in which the music teachers and the students were working. Since then Ensemble XXI has dedicated itself to assisting the music schools as well as touring regularly to Sakhalin with new programmes thus giving the audiences a chance to hear a wide range of music otherwise unavailable to them. Read one story...
Pacific Rim Music Festival 2003 on Sakhalin
Pacific Rim Music Festival 2004 on Sakhalin

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