The Skolkovo innovation centre is usually dominated by robots, medical inventions, new IT solutions and other cutting edge technologies, but on August 27, the focus will be emphatically on the arts over science, as the fledgling city hosts the very first Skolkovo Jazz festival.

The first Skolkovo Jazz festival will feature two stages and a grand piano hidden among the trees. Photo:

From noon till midnight, prominent jazz musicians from Russia and beyond will take to the festival’s two stages, including Germany’s Till Brönner Quintet, the eminent Russian jazz saxophonist Igor Butman and his Moscow Jazz Orchestra, British R&B and jazz singer Tony Momrelle and local band Guru Groove Foundation.

Science and tech are, however, built into the walls of Skolkovo, and in this town, even a music festival has a scientific component. Skolkovo Jazz will feature popular science lectures, master classes and interactive installations, all located around the idyllic Skolkovo pond. There will also be a vinyl market where collectors will be able to buy and exchange rare vinyl, as well as a book fair and plenty of street food outlets to complete the festival atmosphere.

Saxophonist Igor Butman is the festival's music producer. Photo:

“The ideology of Skolkovo is first and foremost to support creative people,” says Elena Zelentsova, Skolkovo vice president for the city’s development.

“And of course, science and technology are not the only things dear to creative people: there is also music. The festival’s slogan is “The Sound of Science,” she explained.

The festival’s music producer is Russian jazz star Butman, who former U.S. President Bill Clinton has described as his “favourite living saxophone player.”

“The nature of the festival is based on the atmosphere of the place itself – on the idea of being innovative,” says Butman. “When compiling the programme, we invited leading jazz musicians as well as young projects who experiment with different styles of contemporary music: jazz-funk, electro-pop, soul, R&B and so on. And that’s why we decided to have two themed stages at the festival: a main stage and an experimental stage.”

In total, 11 bands will perform at the festival, which will get another injection of science in the form of sound installations from the Scriabin Museum, along with lectures on music, science and the influence of music on people.  There will also be plenty to keep younger visitors entertained.

“There will be a packed children’s programme,” says Zelentsova. “There’ll be masterclasses in beatbox and drumming run by the ZIL culture centre, and a children’s interactive orchestra made up of Moscow arts schools that will be assembled at the festival itself,” she said.

In recent years, pianos have been provided at train stations across the U.K. and other European countries, prompting impromptu concerts, duets between strangers and widespread delight. In keeping with this new tradition, Skolkovo Jazz will see a grand piano tucked away inside the wooded area around the pond, available for anyone to play.

“One of the messages of the festival is that Skolkovo isn’t just about science and technology. People should come here not just because it’s food for thought, but because you can have an enjoyable and interesting time here," said Zelentsova.

“Skolkovo Jazz is a chance to have a great time.”

Skolkovo Jazz will take place on August 27 from noon till midnight. Tickets can be bought on the festival’s website priced at 1,500 rubles. The price on the door will be 2,000 rubles. Free shuttle buses will run to the Skolkovo innovation centre from Park Pobedy metro station on the day.