The head of the Grand Ducal House His Highness Duke Borwin this weekend returned to Germany having concluded his visit to St Petersburg and Oranienbaum in Russia. The Duke arrived in Russia last Wednesday in order to attend a series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the St Petersburg Conservatory and the 20th anniversary of the Gartow Foundation. The Duke first visited Russia in 1997 and has strong family ties to the country which was home to a number of his paternal ancestors.
On 21 September the Duke attended the launch of the book “Musiker und Mäzene” (Musicians and Patrons) ISBN 978-3-00-037126-4 which contains a collection of articles on Russian-German musical relations and which has been published to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Gartow Foundation and the 150th anniversary of the St Petersburg Conservatory. Duke Borwin, his sister Duchess Elisabeth Christina and uncle Duke Carl Gregor were amongst those to contribute to the book.
With the influence of their grandmother Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia (born Princess Charlotte of Württemberg), who founded the St Petersburg Conservatory, members of Russian branch of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz became great patrons of music in Imperial Russia. Duke Borwin’s great grandfather Duke Georg Alexander sponsored his own string quartet, the St Petersburg Court Quartet, while his sister Princess Helene of Saxe-Altenburg would serve as the last president of the Imperial Russian Musical Society.
The book launch was held at the Russian museum at the Mikhailovksy Palace in St Petersburg. The palace was built for, and named after the Duke Borwin’s great-great-great grandfather Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia and remained in Duke Borwin’s family until 1895 when his great grandfather Duke Georg Alexander and his siblings sold the residence to Emperor Nikolai II who turned it into the Russian State Museum.
At 7pm on 21 September a concert was held in St Petersburg in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Gartow foundation. Also in connection with the anniversary an event titled “The musical life of the Dukes of Mecklenburg in Oranienbaum” was held on 22 September at Oranienbaum which was owned by the Russian branch of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz until the Russian revolution.