History of the Odessa Classics Festival

The Odessa Classics Music Festival is one of the most important festivals of its kind. It was founded in 2015 by the great Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov as “a European festival for a European city” emphasizing the place and role of Odessa as an integral part of European culture. Since then, it has emerged as a leading musical institution and has left its strong mark on the world music map, often referred to by the international press as the “Salzburg of Eastern Europe”.


The festival takes place in the historic buildings of the Odessa Opera and the Odessa Philharmonic. The festival has hosted on its stage a number of leading artists and ensembles, including Daniel Hope, Mischa Maisky, Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Zakhar Bron, Roby Lakatos, Michael Guttman, Jing Zhao, Kyprianos Katsaris, Pietro De Maria, Stefan Vladar, Sebastian Knauer, Antonio Meneses, Burhan Ocal, Dimitri Ashkenazy, Julian Milkis, Paata Burchuladze, Matthias Goerne and the chamber orchestras of Zurich, Berlin and Brussels.


The pandemic failed to stop the Festival which continued to expand in the years 2020 and 2021 presenting full 15-day programs with top guest artists from around the world. The devastation of the 2022 war turned many of Ukraine's most important artists into refugees, and Alexey Botvinov and his family found temporary shelter in Zurich. However, the Festival, thanks to the hospitality of its main body in Greece, and a smaller part of it in Estonia, will continue its artistic offer this year as well.