ARMCHAIR TRAVEL SERIES: The Lost Pianos of Siberia
Escape the lockdown blues and journey across the frozen tundra of Russia’s wild east, as traveller Sophy Roberts tells us a tale of music, murder, and revolution. Siberia’s story is one
Escape the lockdown blues and journey across the frozen tundra of Russia’s wild east, as traveller Sophy Roberts tells us a tale of music, murder, and revolution.
Siberia’s story is one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell. This is Siberia, where people can endure the worst of the world – and where music reveals a deep humanity in the last place on Earth you would expect to find it.
In the summer of 2015, travel writer Sophy Roberts was sitting in a tent in Mongolia talking to a brilliantly talented young musician. The young musician was expressing her deep sadness at not having a piano to play. Yet Siberia was nearby and Russia has an extraordinary history of piano music. To Sophy, it made some kind of sense to go and look for a historic piano just over the border.
What began as an eccentric idea quickly grew into an obsession. Sophy spent many months on the ground, criss-crossing territory from Kamchatka to the Urals, from the Arctic to the Kuril Islands on Russia’s Pacific edge. Her search became a kind of passport to enter the more intimate recesses of individuals’ homes, memories and experiences, both musical and far more besides.
In this free, multimedia-rich livestreamed talk, Sophy will whisk us to the wilds of Siberia and back again from the comfort of our living rooms. On the hunt for something she did not know she would find across one of the world’s most remote, driven all the while by the blind hope that things would work out in the end, Sophy’s story is an enthralling tale that subverts western expectations of Russian life and culture.