"The Art of Orchestral Playing" is an educational project, which was founded in 2012 by Igor Kalnin and Irina Lezhneva, former classmates and colleagues at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, long time chamber music collaborators, and close friends. The idea was to introduce Russian violin students to general requirements and standard repertoire for orchestral auditions in the United States. The workshop included a lecture-discussion, masterclass, and chamber music recital. Over time, the idea transformed and expanded beyond orchestral playing and has included other topics, such as the role of classical music and musicians in society, outreach activities, the structure of music education in different countries, etc. A broad variety of chamber and solo repertoire was performed for audiences in the Nizhny Novgorod region, including Russian and international premieres of works by several prominent contemporary composers, such as James Lee III, Jeffrey Mumford, and Salvador Brotons. Other professionals joined the project, including Associate Professor of Piano at University of Illinois and Principal Keyboard Player of Sinfonia da Camera Dr. Rochelle Sennet and Associate Professor of Viola (Dozent) at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod Margarita Evsikova. There are plans for further expansion and establishing collaborations with orchestral musicians and educators from different countries to promote inclusivity and intercultural understanding.


“The Art of Orchestral Playing 2018” started with a lecture “The Orchestral Culture in America” in the Recital Hall at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, followed by a Q&A sessions with students from various musical institutions of Nizhny Novgorod. The following day was dedicated to a masterclass on orchestral excerpts played by graduate violin students. Igor Kalnin and Irina lezhneva gave a joint recital in the historic house of Countess Panina in the ancient Russian town of Gorodetz, which included compositions by Bach, Bartok, Godard, Paganini, Leclair, and the Russian premiere of Et in terra pax for Solo Violin by a prominent Catalan composer Salvador Brotons. This program was also performed at Media Strike Hall in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.


“The Art of Orchestral Playing 2017” consisted of a masterclass and Q&A session. Students received coachings on the standard orchestral repertoire.


"The Art of Orchestral Playing" in 2016 included a lecture and discussion on the future of classical music and musicians in the twenty-first century, chamber music recital with works on Leclair, Mumford, Ravel, and Bartok, and a masterclass on the standard orchestral repertoire. Associate Professor of Piano of University of Illinois Dr. Rochelle Sennet made her third appearance at the workshop and gave the Russian premiere of four dances for Boris by Jeffrey Mumford. 


The main topic of the workshop was classical music outreach activities, its similarities and differences in Russia and the United States. The masterclass was dedicated to the standard orchestra repertoire. The recital included music of Martinu, Dvoark, and Spohr. Associate Professor of Viola (Dozent) at Glinka State Conservatory Margarita Evsikova has joined the workshop for the final recital.


The second edition of the workshop was build on the initial success. In additions to the lecture and recital, there was a masterclass, where students of Glinka State Conservatory demonstrated the standard audition repertoire. A final recital included works of Bach, Brahms, and the international premiere of James Lee's First Piano Sonata performed by Rochelle Sennet.


The first workshop was focusing on differences and similarities in orchestra auditions in Russia, Europe, and the United States, as well as history and current state of American orchestral playing. The lecture included demonstration of the most common orchestra excerpts. It concluded with a chamber music recital with Igor Kalnin, violin, and Rochelle Sennet, piano, with works of Beethoven, Corigliano, Paganini, and Saint-Saens.