Music Museums: Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and more

Moscow has a lot of unique music museums to be proud of. After all, a lot of great composers that are internationally known as legendary artists lived in the Russian capital.

People have always been and always will be interested in music. And people can be split up into three categories: music fans, talented performers, and those who are extremely interested in the history of music. But everybody likes to visit music museums where they can learn about the lives of great composers and musicians, the history of music culture and a wide range of musical instruments.

The Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture

Inquiries by phone: (495) 739-6226

The Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture is a huge treasure trove of artifacts related to music culture that has no known analogues in the world. It contains a unique collection of musical and literary manuscripts, studies on the history of music, rare books and musical publications. The consortium currently houses over 700,000 museum items. There are autographs, letters, photographs and documents related to the lives and work of Russian and foreign musicians. The collection of musical instruments from all over the world is particularly notable.

In May 2010, items from the State Collection of Unique Musical instruments were added to the museum’s collection: stringed instruments by craftsmen from various countries and epochs, including masterpieces created by A. Stradivari and the Guarneri and Amati families.

The collection of audio and video recordings is extensive and the paintings/drawings at the museum could just as well belong on the walls of the best art museums in the world.

The consortium has a modern sound recording studio and a concert hall (Prokofyevsky) with a Schuke organ. The lobby of the museum houses an antique organ made by the German craftsman Friedrich Ladegast, which is also used for concerts. The museum’s collection of audio and video recordings is one of the largest in the country (about 89,000 units) and contains recordings from different parts of Russia as well as from all over the world. This is a unique archive of sound recordings that lets us track the development of sound recording from the phonograph to tapes, audio and video cassettes and modern CDs.

It was founded in 1946. The foundation of the museum’s sound archive is a set of records (about 60,000 units) that date back to recordings from the 19th century. The collection includes the first records of companies like “Grammofon,” “Zonofon,” “Pate” and “Metropol,” as well as records from the Soviet era (like those released by “Melodia”) and foreign records. The museum has some of the earliest records of famous 20th century artists, such as singers N.Bolshakov, D.Buhtoyarov, E.Vitting, A.Labinsky, L.Lipkovskaya, M.Mihaylova, A.Nezhdanova, V.Panina, N.Plevitskaya, L. Sibiryakov, L.Sobinov, N.Shevelev, violinists F.Kreisler, Y.Kubelik and M.Erdenko. F. Shalyapin’s records occupy a special place in the museum.

The museum also contains recordings from other famous performers of the 20th century (including Rachmaninov, E.Gilels, W.Gieseking, A.Goldenweiser, G.Gould, S.Richter, Y.Flier, L. Kogan, D.Oistrakh, Y.Heifetz, B.Gigli, P.Domingo, M.Callas, N.Golovanov, H.Karajan, Y.Mravinsky, Y.Svetlanov, as well as the outstanding Russian and foreign orchestras, choirs, ensembles). There are recordings from different schools, different types of classical music, concerts and opera performances, folklore, music for children and more.

The consortium includes the following museums: Central Museum of Musical Culture,

Memorial Apartment of Alexander Goldenweiser, Memorial Apartment of Nikolai Golovanov, Chaliapin House Museum, “Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Moscow” Museum, Museum of Sergei Prokofiev and The S.I. Taneev Museum (under construction)

There is no other music museum of this scale in any other country in the world.  It is no wonder that in the beginning of 1995 the President of the Russian Federation enacted a Decree that included the Museum Consortium in the State Body of Especially Valuable Cultural Heritage Sites of the Peoples of the Russian Federation.

Central Museum of Musical Culture

Address: Ulitsya Fadeeva 4, m. “Mayakovskaya,” “Novoslobodskaya”
Tel: (495) 739-6226
Hours of Operation: 11.00am-7.00pm

Five halls, each finished in a different color, represent over 700 traditional and professional musical instruments. The exposition includes instruments from the peoples of Russia, as well as from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia. Hall No. 1. Musical instruments of the peoples of the Russian Federation. Hall No. 2 Musical instruments of the peoples of Europe. Hall No.3. Musical instruments of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Hall No. 4 Professional European musical instruments. Instruments for symphonic orchestras and brass bands. String keyboard instruments. Hall No. 5. Mechanical musical instruments, sound recording and audio equipment from the first half of the 20th century, electronic instruments. One of the displays is dedicated the one of the museum’s oldest collections - 36 musical instruments from the people of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. The collection was put together by Augustus F. Eichhorn, who was a Russian military band conductor at the Turkestan Military District in 1870-1883.

One of the most valuable exhibits is a spinet completed by Italian craftsman M. Yadr, which dates back to 1565. The piano belonged to a famous Florentine Medici family and features three medallions with images of the family members. There is also a harpsichord made in 1766 by the prominent English craftsman Burkat Shudi.

The hall features modern instruments from the collection of the famous drummer and composer Rishad Shafi, including a part of his “giant drum set.”

Chaliapin House Museum

Address: Novinsky Boulevard 25-27, m. “Barrikadnaya,” “Krasnopresnenskaya”
Tel: (499) 255-9864
Hours of Operation: Wed-Sun 11.00am-7.00pm

This was the first Moscow home of Feodor Chaliapin, and it is set up to reflect Chaliapin’s special home atmosphere. He bought this house on Novinsky Boulevard in 1910, when he was 37 years old. He lived here for twelve years, which is when his talent and his art blossomed. He became famous all over the world while living here.

The interior of the house was recreated in accordance with old photographs and stories told by the singer’s children. A white hall, a green guest room, dining hall, office, billiard in these rooms was orderly, undisturbed by the artist’s busy schedule. In the Chaliapin practiced with guests in the White hall, celebrated benefits in the dining room and read in his office. Chaliapin loved to play pool, and his wife gave him a billiard table as a present.

The museum houses authentic items that belong to the Chaliapin family. These items include furniture, a Bechstein piano, a grandfather clock, wedding candles used by Fedor and his wife, theatre costumes and posters. The house has a lot of paintings that were given to Chaliapin by various artists, including V. Serov, K. Korovin, V. Polenov, M. Nesterov and M. Vrubel. The singer’s son, Boris Chaliapin, donated a lot of his own works to the museum as well.

The house museum holds exhibitions, thematic tours, concerts by famous and young performers, events for children, and workshops led by famous Russian and foreign singers.

“Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Moscow” Museum

Address: Kudrinskaya Square 46/54, m. “Barrikadnaya”
Tel: (495) 691-1514
Hours of Operation: Wed-Sun 11.00am-7.00pm

Over the course of the 12 years he spent in Moscow, Tchaikovsky moved around a lot. He lived at the house on Kudrinskaya Square, in an apartment that took up half of the second floor of a wing in a large old manor, from September 1872 until November 1873. Here, he worked on the Second Symphony, music for A.N. Ostrovsky’s fairy tale “Snegurochka” and the symphonic fantasy “The Tempest.”

Today, the house on Kudrinskaya is an important focal point of Moscow’s museum and concert life. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions, tours and thematic classes, club meetings and events for children. The two halls hold chamber concerts by famous and young performers.

The exhibition is based on original materials: historical documents and the composer’s personal items, photos of Tchaikovsky, his colleagues, friends and family members, etchings, lithographs, and drawings. There are also rarities from the composer’s manuscript inheritance: over fifty autographs (including “Eugene Onegin,” “Queen of Spades” and others), scores and literary manuscripts.

The unusual sound and artistic design of the exhibition space help to create a complete image of the composer’s life.

Museum of Sergei Prokofiev

Address: Kamergersky Pereulok 6, m. “Okhotny Ryad,” “Teatralnaya”
Tel: (495) 692-0567
Hours of Operation: Wed-Sun 11.00am-7.00pm

Composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Prokofiev spent the last six years of his life (1947-1953) in this house, the apartment of his second wife’s parents. Here, the composer worked on his ballet called “Tale of a Stone Flower,” Symphony No.7. Prokofiev also hosted guests here, including famous musicians such as N. Golovanov, P. Lamm, S. Samosud, L. Atovmyan, M. Rostropovich and S. Richter.

The composer’s office has been recreated with original materials. Now, museum nights and events are held here on a regular basis. A lot of these events target a younger audience base: those who are open to experimentation and are in tune with Prokofiev’s spirit of innovation. There are a number of classes for children that introduce them to the composer’s art. These include a tour called “A Walk Along Kamergersky with Sergei Prokofiev,” interactive educational programs called “School of Prodigies. How to Write an Opera,” “How Petya Defeated the Wolf,” “Cinderella’s Shoe” and others.

This year, the world is celebrating Prokofiev’s 125th birthday. The event program includes festivals and exhibitions, an international academic conference, the second composer competition “Time of the Prokofievs” and much more.

Vladimir Vysotsky’s Home on Taganka

Address: Ulitsya Vysotskovo 3, m. “Taganskaya” (Ring Line)
Tel: (495) 915-7578, 915-7199, book stand: (495) 915-4558, theatre and concert hall: (495) 915-4558
Hours of Operation:  Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 11.00am - 6.00pm, Thu - “Night at the Museum”  1.00pm - 9.00pm, Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

The idea to establish a museum dedicated to Vladimir Vysotsky came up immediately after the poet passed away in 1980. The Taganka Theatre, which Vysotsky collaborated for 16 years with, kept receiving letters from fans who praised his talent. They also received exhibits for the future museum. The collection started developing back in 1989, when the museum’s Directorate was first established. People came by with old tickets and programs, recordings from concerts, self-published collections of Vysotsky’s poetry and photos.

Today, the museum’s collection is home to over 40,000 items. It is based on the personal archives of Vladimir Vysotsky (autographs, personal belongings and documents), as well as the archives of his family members.

Recordings of his live performances and theatre productions hold a special place at the museum. The collection of photos gives visitors a glimpse into his numerous trips and meetings. A lot of photos focus on his productions at the Taganka Theatre. The museum actively collects materials that speak to the influence Vladimir Vysotsky’s poetry had on our lives. The museum’s archives also store research materials, school essays and university dissertations (a lot of which are based on the museum’s materials).

Alexander Scriabin Memorial Museum

Address: Bolshoy Nikolopeskovsky Pereulok 11, m. “Smolenskaya”
Tel: (499) 241- 1901, (499) 241-7539
Hours of Operation: Wed, Fri-Sun 11.00am–7.00pm, Thu 1.00pm–9.00pm

The museum is located in the very center of Moscow, inside one of the quiet lanes near Arbat. Scriabin spent the three last years of his life inside the old house, residing there from 1912 to 1915. A museum opened here on July 17, 1922. It functions just like a cultural center, hosting music concerts on the first floor. This house was well-known to the composer’s contemporaries. This was a powerful cultural center in Moscow. Frequent gusts included philosophers N. Berdyaev, S. Bulgakov, artists N. Shperling and L. Pasternak, theatre figures V. Meyerhold, A. Tairov and A. Coonen, poets U. Baltrusaitis, K. Balmont, V. Ivanov and many more.

A.N. Scriabin’s museum is unique: it is living proof of the Silver Age of Russian Culture. It stores everything that surrounded Scriabin throughout his lifetime: the grand piano that was made especially for him, works of art, a copy of "A Guide to the Outlook of Indian Yogis" and the first “color music” - a wooden circle with twelve lamps created in accordance with Scriabin’s design to accompany his first color music piece “Prometheus. The Poem of Fire.”

The museum also houses A.N. Scriabin’s personal library. It includes books on various subjects: theosophy, philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, science. Many of these books contain notes that the composer made.

The Mirek Russian Accordion Museum

Address: 2nd Tverskaya Yamskaya 18, m. “Mayakovskaya”
Tel: (499) 251-6730
Hours of Operation: Tue-Wed 10.00am-6.00pm, Thu 10.00am-9.00pm, Mon-Sun 10.00am-5.00pm

From 1947 to the early 1970s, Doctor of Arts Alfred Mirek has been gathering academic and historical materials about accordions - over two hundred rare kinds of music instruments, photographs, biographical information, posters, recordings and other materials. In 1980-1994, Alfred Mirek collected another 100 accordions. This collection served as the foundation for the museum.

The Mirek Russian Accordion Museum is the only accordion museum in the country, and one of only four in the world. Here, you can see a reconstruction of the first accordion in the world (1783), go to a traditional Moscow restaurant or visit concerts featuring musicians who play accordions and harmonicas. Entertainment programs such as costume tours, musical tea parties familiarize visitors with the history of accordions and a wide variety of fascinating reed instruments. They give visitors the opportunity to listen to what instruments sounded like in the past via performances by professional musicians who also act as tour guides.

There is a foot accordion, a musical weathervane, an accordion with bells from Saratov, tiny musical instruments that look like turtles and so on. There is also a reconstruction of a workshop with old drills and screwdrivers, which was once used by a craftsman who made and repaired accordions.

Sviatoslav Richter Memorial Apartment

Address: Bolshaya Bronnaya 2/6, apt. 58(16th floor), m. “Tverskaya,” “Pushkinskaya”
Tel: (495) 695-8346, (495) 697-7205, (495) 697-4705
Hours of Operation: Wed-Sat 2.00pm-8.00pm, Sun 12.00pm-6.00pm, booking in advance required

In the early 1970s, Sviatoslav Richter and Nina Dorliak moved into to an apartment on the 16th floor of a regular building on Bolshaya Bronnaya, not far from the Conservatory. Entering the apartment is like walking into a different world. There is no luxury or excessive trinkets. Everything reflects the personality and lifestyle of the owner, a special kind of energy. In the big room, referred to in the old-fashioned manner as “Zal,” Richter practiced by himself and with other musicians. There are two Steinway & Sons pianos here, two antique Italian floor lamps given to him by the mayor of Florence, a tapestry and pictures. The room was used to listen to operas and watch films.

In the office, which Richter referred to as his “cabinet,” there is a case with notes that contain precious scribbles by the maestro. Inside the secretaire is a manuscript of Sergei Prokofiev’s Ninth Sonnet, dedicated to Richter, a photograph of Heinrich Neuhaus, a drawing by Picasso, and Solzhenitsyn’s “Miniatures.” This is what Richter’s inner circle looks like - Russian cultural elite. The “Green Room” is a room for relaxation, which turned into an artist’s room on concert days.

Richter’s artistic interests and preferences were diverse. He loved to paint himself, and a small room at his house features his pastels. Tours are supplemented with audio and video recordings. Talented young people and famous entertainers take part in the evening events.

Tchaikovsky State House-Museum in Klin

Address: Ulitsya Tchaikovskovo 48, Klin, Moscow Oblast
Tel: (49624) 5-81-96, (49624) 2-10-50
Hours of Operation: Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun 10.00am - 6.00pm, ticket office open until 5.00pm

This is one of the oldest memorial museums in the world, which is in essence a museum complex, a reserve. The memorial house is the heart of the museum. Its external appearance and interior decor, the old park and the attached buildings all serve to recreate the specific atmosphere of that time period.

Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky is one of the greatest figures in world culture. His music, the content of which is widely relatable is loved by people all over the world.  This is why the house in Klin became a real mecca for music lovers. Over the course of a century of the museum’s existence, it has been visited by millions of people from all over the globe.

Tchaikovsky’s piano continues to play now. As per the museum’s tradition, the old Becker piano fills the home’s cosy rooms with magical sounds twice a year - once on May 7 (Tchaikovsky’s birthday) and once on November 6 (his memorial day).

November 6 is also the anniversary of Symphony No. 6, one of the greatest musical masterpieces in the world. This is why Tchaikovsky’s memorial day becomes a day of celebration of his music, which brought him his unfading glory. Young laureates of the International Tchaikovsky Competition have the honor of playing this piano. The tradition was started in 1958 by the American pianist Van Cliburn, who won the first competition.



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Address: Voznesenskiy Pereulok, 22, Moscow, 125009

Ph: +7 (495) 633-68-66, Fax: +7 (495) 633-68-65


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