The Skolkovo innovation centre is gearing up to host the third annual open-air Skolkovo Jazz Science festival this weekend, starring jazz musicians from all over the world and headlined by the legendary Russian saxophonist Igor Butman.

The Skolkovo Jazz Science festival takes place in the area around the Skolkovo pond. Photo:

As in previous years, this year’s festival on August 25 has two stages: a main stage and an experimental stage. Performances by virtuoso jazz artists will be interspersed with lectures on popular science, and the area around the Skolkovo pond will be buzzing with science and music-related activities to suit visitors of all ages.

In keeping with tradition, Butman will close the day’s entertainment, performing with the Moscow Jazz Orchestra and Miami-based singer Fantine.

“This year, we will have Fantine: at last we were able to entice her (last year she couldn’t come),” Elena Zelentsova, vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation for city development, told ahead of the event.

Russian-Dominican singer Fantine will perform with the legendary saxophonist Igor Butman and the Moscow Jazz Orchestra. Photo: Fantine.

Fantine was born in Moscow to parents of Russian and Dominican descent, spent her childhood between Russia and Australia, and now lives in Miami. She has collaborated with artists ranging from Wyclef Jean to Gloria Estefan.

Preceding Butman and Fantine on the main stage are Mamas Gun, a five-piece funk and soul band from the U.K. whose third album, Cheap Hotel, was described by The Independent as “a retro delight.”

Moscow’s own trumpeter Pyotr Vostokov will also grace the main stage, performing with his Mambo Party project featuring the Cuban singer and musician Willie Key, who has lived in Moscow since 2013.

Over on the experimental stage, the headliners are the singer Tina Kuznetsova and her Zventa Sventana project, preceded by the award-winning Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick. The experimental stage will also see a set by the Moscow-based soul/R&B duo Secret Atelier, consisting of Ilya Popov and Sveta Zhavoronkova. Sveta is the voice and lyrics of the project, while Ilya is in charge of music and sound, the duo’s description on their Facebook page reads.

Skolkovo's Elena Zelentsova and Igor Butman. Photo:

“In 2017 we met and collaborated to create music inspired mainly by soul, funk and disco from the 70s-80s,” is how they summarise their style.

This year, the two stages will also host science lectures amid the musical performances, though smaller-scale science activities will still take place around the stages, as in previous years. The main stage will see a 35-minute discussion at 4.30 p.m. on “The Life and Death of Professions. The Tech Revolution on the Labour Market and What to Expect,” featuring speakers including Maya Stravinskaya, digital director of Moscow’s Polytechnic Museum, and Grigory Bakunov, director of technology distribution at Russian internet giant Yandex.

On the experimental stage, a lecture titled “Does Music Change the Brain? A Tangled Mass of Cause and Effect” will be delivered at 5 p.m. by Asya Kazantseva, a science journalist and science popularizer.

“I would say that as well as interesting artists, the trend that will develop even further is that we are redefining our collaboration with science,” says Zelentsova.

“This year, we are trying to integrate the science theme more closely into our art objects and installations, and into our overall programme. That’s not simply new events, but new kinds of experiences. For example, we’re doing something major on the border between science and art with the British Higher School of Art and Design,” she said.

The British Higher School of Design in Moscow will have its own exposition at the event as part of the science programme, which consists of 10 hours of interactive entertainment. Lectures include “Chemistry and Painting,” “Star Wars Science: Myth or Reality,” “Maths and Art” and “Artificial Intelligence. Machine Learning.”

Other activities taking place around the Skolkovo pond will include a jam session by the Virtuosi music school, other music and art master classes, and a lounge zone organised by the World Fashion Channel. All day long, a DIY lab will function especially for children, featuring a sound-recording studio and a competition of robots organised by the League of Robots engineering society.

Mamas Gun, a London-based five-piece funk and soul band, will play the main stage. Photo: Mamas Gun.

As usual, there will also be a vinyl market, a book fair and an extensive food court.

“Our festival is about developing human capital,” says Zelentsova.

“We know festivals that were created as an instrument to develop a particular place. We know about festivals as an instrument for developing the music market, as an instrument for promoting particular services or products. But we have invented the country’s first festival that develops human capital, and that’s our know-how.”

Skolkovo Jazz Science will take place at the Skolkovo innovation city on Saturday, August 25, from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are priced from 2,000 rubles, and can be bought on the festival’s website, where a full programme is also available. Free buses will run to and from the event from outside the Battle of Borodino Panorama Museum at Park Pobedy metro station.