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Peter III + music and theater - alley_skywalker [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Peter III + music and theater [Sep. 27th, 2015|10:15 pm]

Peter III (of Russia) loved his violin (and played it rather well). Actually, Peter loved pretty much all things musical and theatrical. While he was still a Grand Duke, he established a capella (like a court orchestra) and a music and drama school in Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov) and directed the staff to accept students between the ages of 10 and 15, especially paying attention to those from a poor background. (Peter in general scoffed at things like rank and background, preferring talent or amiability or whatever quality he thought pleasant or useful to the mere accident of birth.) Older students could simultaneously take lessons and work at the theater as actors/singers.

One of the performers whom Peter accepted into the theater at ~17 years old was Maksym Berezovsky, who would go on to become the first Ukrainian composer to be recognized throughout Europe. Ivan Khandoshkin, often described as the best violinist of the 18th century, is also believed to have been apprenticed at Peter’s music and drama school at the age of 13. (Khandoshkin’s father was also a procession musician at Peter’s capella). Peter’s school and capella produced and/or supported a variety of Russian musicians and performers. At the very least, Peter’s supposed “dislike” of “everything Russian” certainly did not spread to the talented artists it had to offer.