The Russian Musical Society under Royal Patronage

Grigory A. Moiseev


The patronage of the Russian Musical Society from the Romanov imperial family presents an important but
insufficiently studied cultural-historical phenomenon. In pre-revolutionary historiography the picture of royal patronage
was demonstrated in an idealized vein, while all the negative sides were suppressed. During the Soviet period as the
result of the ideological orientations the attitudes toward this phenomenon were entirely negative and biased: its role
in the support and development of professional musical education in Russia was totally ignored. At the present time,
along with the disclosure of previously inaccessible archival sources, there appeared the opportunity to reveal in new
light the role of the royal patrons in the formation and development of the Russian Musical Society, its concert and
musical enlightening activities, personal aid to separate performers and composers and to musical ensembles. The main
aim of the present article consists in a complex characterization of the activities of the representatives of the grandducal
family of the Konstantinoviches, who during the course of thirty-six years fulfilled the functions of patrons and
took up the post of chairmen at the Russian Musical Society. The author analyzes the mechanisms of transmission of
the full commanding powers from one member of the family to another, and examines various administrative styles.
Methods of comparative source study are applied. The conclusion is arrived at that, depending on the situation and
on the conditions of affairs at the Russian Musical Society and the conservatories, the patronage tended to acquire
unexpected means of inactivation.

Keywords: Imperial Russian Musical Society (IRMS), royal patronage, the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the
Moscow Conservatory, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, Grand Duke
Konstantin Konstantinovich.

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