Outstanding Russian composer Edison Denisov called this festival the most advanced composer event as it has always provided an opportunity for composers working in different styles and different manners to express themselves. In particular, the festival welcomed many Russian avant-garde composers, whose music was successfully performed abroad but almost never played in Russia. It was at this festival where many pieces by Edison Debnisov and other outstanding nonconformist composers such as Alfred Schnitke and Sofia Gubaidulina were performed for the first time. Performing only new compositions has always been the festival’s main principle, Oleg Galakhov, head of the Moscow Composer House, says.
"There is no other festival where only new music is performed. At least there is no other large scale event like this with the same concept. The festival covers all the genres of contemporary music, different styles and methods of music writing. In order to be included in the program of the Moscow autumn festival a music piece must contain elements of a path breaking work, of an onward movement towards unexplored areas of music composition."
There 235 music pieces in the program of the current festival ranging from symphonic music to jazz, from compositions for the choir and Russian folk instruments to electro-acoustic music and multimedia projects. However this year the festival is focused on opera marking the 100-anniversary since the birth of the outstanding Russia opera director Boris Pokrovsky. The Moscow Chamber Music Theater that he founded is to present a one-month program of contemporary operas. All 40 years of its existence the Chamber Theater has had strong affinity with contemporary music, Oleg Galakhov says.
"More than 50 operas by contemporary composers were staged in that theater though those were mainly Moscow composers, many of whom wrote especially for this theater. But all those productions were just brilliant."
The history of the “Moscow Autumn” as an international festival began in 1994 when an outstanding French composer of the Greek origin Iannis Xenakis attended the festival. Since then, visits of foreign composers have grown into extended concert programs. This year program includes foreign sets called “Finnish visit” and “Italian visit”. Another long awaited event is the Russian German cross-cultural program in which Russian composers will present their music based on German themes and visa versa.