“Universo del Sonido”: The First Time in Colombia

During 1–7 April, “The Universe of Sound,” a festival of the Moscow Conservatory, was held in the city of Medellín, Colombia, for the first time. This annual festival has already celebrated its tenth anniversary in Moscow. In the years 2011 and 2012, it was greeted in Japan. This year, upon the mutual initiative of the Moscow Conservatory, on the one hand, and of Sinfónica Juvenil de Antioquia (the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia) together with Corporación Fomento de la Música (the Music Development Corporation), on the other hand, the festival rolled forth on the South American continent, in the homeland of Gabriel García Márquez.



The program of the festival “The Universe of Sound” included four concerts together with three meetings arranged before the concerts and aimed to tell the listeners about the specificity of the following programs, as well as about the very idea of the festival. In addition, numerous interviews were also arranged.


Both the Folklore Ensemble of the Moscow Conservatory and the Iranian group Ghamar arrived to Medellín in the evening of 31 March. At ten o’clock in the morning of the next day, Camilo Jiraldo, Conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia, and Anastasia Novoselova, a member of the Folklore Ensemble and an offecer of the Scientific and Creative Center “World Music Cultures,” were interviewed live by the program Collage for Channel One of Colombia’s TV.


Irina Ryabova, an interpreter, and Anastasia Novoselova on the air of the program Collage


To Camilo Jiraldo’s surprise, a dialog with the popular program presenter was carried on in quite a serious way. The festival organizers managed to explain to their Colombian hosts that it is not just music of various countries to be introduced on the festival program but rather such different music cultures as European and Russian classical music, Russian traditional peasant songs and the Iranian music of high classical tradition.


On that same day, 1 April, two more live interviews expected both the folklore ensemble and the group Ghamar at several other channels of the Medellín TV. Besides, the Russian and Iranian musicians had succeeded to talk to journalists of the newspaper El Colombiano between the interviews.


The newspaper El Colombiano (“The Colombian,” online version)


On the air of the Teleantioquia channel


In the evening of 1 April, the first interview out of the three ones about the festival “The Universe of Sound” was held in the center of Medellín, in a cozy foyer of the Pablo Tobon Uribe Theater, the oldest one in the city. After this conversation, the audience enjoyed Colombian music performed by soloists of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia.


Soloists of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia


The following evening of 2 April was accompanied by the sounds of accordion from Saratov. Dr. Natalia Gilyarova, Director of the Folklore Ensemble of the Moscow Conservatory, talked with the Colombian audience.


Natalia Gilyarova and Irina Ryabova


On 3 April, Dr. Margarita Karatygina introduced tar, kamancheh, santur, ney, tombak and oud, the instruments of Iranian classical music. To the listeners’ excitement, musicians of the group Ghamar played a chaharmezrab from the program of the concert “Still…,” which was to follow in Medellín.


Margarita Karatygina, Hosein Nourshargh, Farhad Safari


On 4 April, the concert of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia directed by Camilo Jiraldo opened “The Universe of Sound” festival in Medellín. Carl Orff’s Carmina burana and the Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor were performed. The musicians played with great excitement: it was obvious that they felt a genuine delight from the very process of music-making, and it filled the pieces of Western European classical music with new vital power.


The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia directed by Camilo Jiraldo


Before the concert, Dr. Margarita Karatygina was interviewed by the Caracol channel of the Colombian National TV. She explained then why the festival in Colombia had occurred to be the meeting of those three particular countries: Colombia, Russia and Iran. “These three solar cultures have been making a ‘solar triangle’, — she said. — Both positive solar energy and the perception of sound as the joy of life have been radiating from each of them.”


Dr. Margarita Karatygina is being interviewed by the Caracol channel of the Colombian National TV


On 5 April, the Folklore Ensemble of the Moscow Conservatory introduced the old tradition of Russian peasant singing.


The Folklore Ensemble of the Moscow Conservatory

is showing a fragment of the wedding ceremony: The Bride’s Cry.


The open hearts of, and warm response from, the Colombian audience gladdened the folklore ensemble participants, especially at the moments of literal expression of the listeners’ feelings, which were agitated several times after they heard the translation of the content of some songs. When Dr. Natalia Gilyarova told the ending of the song “On the sea, on the waves, on the yellow sand a young girl was being dated by a young man…,” — the young man was seeking his darling and finally found her in a church where she was wedding the other man, — the audience has groaned; an emotional wave rolled through the hall and was not abating during the first lines of the song performed.


Hosein Nourshargh and the group Ghamar


On 6 April, the Pablo Tobon Uribe Theater was filled with the sounds of Iranian classical music (avaz). The ardent power of the sounds of those instruments, combined with Hosein Nourshargh’s inviting and caressing voice, whose polished mastery, fastidious subtlety and infinite senses that cannot be expressed by words, have found their listeners. The Colombians were ready to share, and shared their energy whose power was comparable with that of the Iranian musicians’ message.


Navid Dehghan (leader of the group Ghamar, kamancheh); Hosein Nourshargh (avaz)


On 7 April, the sounds of marimba ended the Festival “Universo del Sonido” in Medellín; however, there were expectations of its immediate continuation in various aspects. The soloists of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia, together with their conductor Camilo Jiraldo and the fine soprano Clara María Jiraldo, will come to Moscow to participate in the Eleventh International Music Festival “The Universe of Sound”: the concert of Colombian music will be held at the Rachmaninoff Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on 18 May.


The trans-Atlantic flight takes eleven hours; including all further flights and transfers, the whole way from Moscow to Medellín takes about twenty-seven hours. However, thanks to the efforts of the Music Development Corporation and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Antioquia, as well as due to the Moscow Conservatory’s and personally Helene Restrepo’s, Camilo Jiraldo’s and Dr. Margarita Karatygina’s initiative, the invisible but strong thread has tied still leafless but already spring Moscow with evergreen sunny Medellín through dozens of thousands of miles.


The first row from left to right: Anastasia Novoselova, Alejandra Toro Mesa, Camilo Jiraldo, Dr. Margarita Karatygina, Dr. Natalia Gilyarova, Juliana Castrillón Mazo, Amin Golestani, Behzad Ravagi.

The second row: Olga Ivanova, Vassily Ivanov.

The third row: Farhad Safari, Marina Altshuler, Navid Dehghan, Sara Zuluaga, Marina Vavilova.

The fourth row: Elena Bogina, Alireza Geranfar.


Anastasia Novoselova, Margarita Karatygina


Photos taken by Sergio Gonzalez and Anastasia Novoselova


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