The Music Scene in Moscow

The music scene in Moscow is not only thriving but offers a smorgasbord of music genres from classical to edgy electronic music. I grew up in New York City so I was fortunate to go to local clubs and concert halls to listen to live performances of music such as jazz, blues, rock, pop, classical and electronic avant-garde. I call Moscow my Russian New York City. It has all the attributes of NYC, only cleaner and more affordable. The average ticket price for local clubs is 500 rubles. If a fairly famous band is performing, then the price can range from 1000-2500 rubles, depending on how close you want to be to the stage. There is plenty of local talent in Moscow and, surprisingly, some singers will sing in English, especially the blues, which traditionally started in the Deep South of the United States in the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions. As for jazz and electronic avant-garde music, Russian musicians have their own style.

 

There is a club called JAM /ДжазКлуб Андрея Мakaревича which is a great small club to listen to local jazz talent. They serve meals and have bar service.

Джаз Кафе Esse has nice ambiance and great cross section of music performed by both local and international musicians. Nice mix.

Theatre of Nations (Театр Наций) hosts avant-garde music performances as well as plays.

Блуз Клубб ББ Кинг (Blues Club B.B. King) is another cozy club where you can dine, imbibe and listen to local blues musicians perform.

If your preferences are rock music, there is 16 Tonn, which is named after an American song about a coal miner. It is one of the oldest rock clubs in Moscow.

Китайский Летчик Джао Да is a rock club named after a semi-mythical person called Jao Da. One can listen to indie rock, punk rock and ethnic music.

Imagine Cafe is where musicians from Russia, Europe, and UK perform rock and roll, indie, punk shoe gaze and blues. This is a late-night club and is open until 5am during the week and until 6am on Friday and Saturday.

If your love is classical music, you are in for a treat: the Moscow Conservatory is the Mecca of classical music. This is a world class venue for classical music. As part of our music education at MIU, we will be attending a concert there towards the end of the fall semester. I am so looking forward to the concert. We are fortunate to have the Director of the Moscow Conservatory as one of our teachers at MIU.

 

This is a small sample of clubs in Moscow. There are many others. These are a few I attended and found enjoyable. I will be in Moscow until May of 2020 so my goal is to go to as many live music clubs as possible. If you are a music aficionado you will be pleased with the choices available in Moscow. There are many websites you can check out to locate a club of interest. Menus, schedules, cocktails, atmosphere, and prices are available online. If you are interested in paying for tickets online, it will be a problem unless you have something like Google pay or its equivalent. However, you should expect to pay for tickets in cash because foreign credit cards and ATM cards will not work for online purchases, only Russian accounts.

By: Sharon Schecht Young

Program: Advanced Russian Language & Area Studies Program, Moscow, Russia

Term: Fall 2019

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