Official website of 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan
16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015

Olga Skepner: I always support Kazan, it is my favourite city!

29.07.2015, 16:00 Interviews
On 30 July, for one evening, the JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion Festival will move from the Museum of Fine Arts Park to the FINA Water World Park. The fourth concert of the 9th festival will be hosted as part of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan cultural programme. The Evgeny Borets quintet with the soloist Diana Polenova (Moscow) will perform for the Kazan residents and guests to the city. The concert starts at 19:30. Entrance to the FINA Water World Park is free.

Olga Skepner, jazz singer, teacher and musical director of the JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion Festival talked about the features of the upcoming concert.

– Olga, Evgeny Borets and Diana Polenova will perform at the FINA Water World Park. Was this a deliberate choice by the performers for a ‘visiting’ project as part of the World Championships?

– Deliberate, of course. I have long been thinking about who will be performing at the FINA Water World Park. In the end, I decided that it would be Evgeny Borets. Firstly, Evgeny is associated with the Aksenov-Fest International Festival, which the administration of Kazan puts on. Secondly, Evgeny is originally from Kazan, and graduated from our secondary specialized music school under the aegis of the conservatory, the conservatory, and only then went to Moscow. Together with Evgeny, Sergey Khutas plays in the quintet. He is also from Tatarstan. There are very many ties to Kazan! And today, this means musicians of the highest level. Evgeny is a rare musician in Russia, who has recorded an album at one of the best studios in the world: ECM Records – RAINBOW in Oslo, Norway. There aren't many Russian musicians who have recorded at ECM. They include Evgeny Borets, and Arkady Shilkloper with Mikhail Zinchenko, if I am not mistaken. The best studio in the world means something! When we held a press conference before the Festival and Championships, Marat Zakirov (head of the Cultural Programme Department at the Executive Directorate for Sports Projects) thanked us that Evgeny Borets was selected: "He's like a symbol of modern jazz in Kazan – he started here, and reached the highest world level."

– Did the performers prepare a special programme for the Championships?

– I asked them to do something special, but the FINA Water World Park programme will even be a surprise for me. I think that there will be jazz standards, but that is only a small part of the programme. I think different author's music is likely to be represented, from Evgeny, Sergey Khutas and Diana Polenova. She wrote both the music and lyrics. I know that Evgeny and Diana are now recording an album, which will feature well-known Russian children's songs in arrangements, and maybe they will play something from that, too. Generally, Borets is unpredictable and can play anything (she laughs).

–- Olga, have you yourself been to any competitions at the 2015 FINA World Championships?

–- No, unfortunately. I have a two-month project going on at the moment. I can't leave it, as I can't leave my child. It is young, just 9 years old. The largest known jazz festival in the world has been going on for 46 or 49 years. Moreover, the JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion Festival is now at its peak. The concert's women are the equator of our project. And we have a whole month of work. In addition, I am first and foremost an artist. I have also got two solo concerts ahead of me as part of ‘Sandetsky’. It is a huge responsibility, and a tremendous amount of work. Every day, you need to rehearse and rewrite music, and perfect the arrangement... In general, it is a creative laboratory. I can't attend sports competitions at the moment. But I watched the opening ceremony on TV, and it was an impressive sight! I love the water, water sports, I swim myself, and it's great. What is more, we flew to Qatar in winter, and for three hours we sang at a jazz programme at the closing of the 2014 FINA Swimming World Cup. So... I have ‘long-established’ links with the Championships.

– Have any of the participants of the JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion Festival expressed a desire to visit the competitions during their stay in the city?

–- They don't have the opportunity: their schedules are set to the minute. They arrive, eat, do a sound check, speak to the press, and then they perform. And they leave in the morning. It all goes precisely according to plan. There is no free time at all! But they all know about the Championships. They are all interested in it, and we tell them about it. All the performers really like Kazan. We, as far as we can, try to show the main sights. We show the Kazanka River embankment, the Kremlin, and the sports venues. Everyone, of course, just wonders and says: "What a city!" The city is of course very beautiful, athletic and musical. Currently there are the Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sladkovsky and our JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion Festival, Kremlin LIVE and Music of Faith Festival. This is fabulous! We must keep this bar up. I always support Kazan, it is my favourite city!

FINA Park Cultural programme, July 30-31:

30 July

18:00-19:00 Nikita Savelyev concert
19:00-21:00 JAZZ at Sandetsky Mansion International Festival of Musical Improvisation
21:00-22:00 Dance Under the Water show

31 July

18:00-21:00 StudentStar Festival
21:00-22:00 Dance Under the Water show

The FINA Water World Park's opening hours are deom 12:00 to 22:00 daily. Free admission is provided for visitors. To enter the territory of the main cultural venue, it is necessary to pass security stations from Chistopolskaya Street or Prospekt Yamasheva Street.


Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships