Originally known as the Gnessin Institute, the Gnessin State Musical College (Государственный музыкальный колледж имени Гнесиных) is an elite music school in Moscow’s Arbat District.

In additional to its academic prestige, it’s known as a factory for producing pop stars, including the legendary Philipp Kirkorov, one of Russia’s best-selling and most popular artists, Olga Arefyeva, and Dima Bilan. It is known informally by fans and graduates as “Gnessinka.”

The Gnessin Institute was founded on February 15, 1895 by sisters Evgenia, Elena, and Maria Fabianova Gnessin. They had each studied piano and graduated with distinction from the Moscow Conservatory. The original building, a small wooden house, had its first graduating class of 16 in 1905. During Russia’s pre-revolutionary period, the Gnessin Institute was responsible for a number of important educational initiatives, including the Moscow Children’s School Choir.

The current 13-story school building, constructed in 1974, includes classrooms for computer, dance, individual and group music lessons, a music library, reading room, a children’s music school and two concert halls, to which entrance is free.

During the first season of Faktor A (the Russian version of Faktor X, with “A” honoring Alla Pugacheva, head of the jury), runner-up Erkin Holmtaov received a cash prize of 30,000 Euros and a 5-year scholarship to study at Gnessin.

Other major pop stars to emerge from the prestigious institute include Yulianna Karaulova of 5sta Family, Yulia Volkova, a singer in the group t.A.T.u., Valeria, Sati Kazanova and hip-hop artist Staisha/Miss Bass.

 

t.A.T.u.’s Yulia Volkova with the hit “All Because of You”:

Eyes wide open
Try to fall asleep
For a second
I can hardly breathe, yeah

Now I just hate to love you
But I can’t fake
Wish I could be much stronger
‘Cause I’m about to break

I do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, ’cause of you
All because of you
Do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, you

Torn to pieces
No more tears to cry
Gave you all I had
But found a lie, yeah

Now I just hate to love you
But I can’t fake
Wish I could be much stronger
‘Cause I’m about to break

I do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, ’cause of you
All because of you
Do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, you

Suddenly I find myself broken down, on my knees
Hoping that someone will bring back reality
All of this happening only because of you

I do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, ’cause of you
All because of you
Do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, you

I do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, ’cause of you
All because of you
Do the things I do, do the things
Do the things I do
All because of you, you

 

Philipp Kirkorov performs “Снег” (“Snow”):

Почему так жесток снег, оставляет твои следы
И по кругу зачем бег и бежишь от меня ты
Не даёт до утра спать, снег растаявший – он вода
Ты одно лишь должна знать – я люблю тебя навсегда
Не даёт до утра спать, снег растаявший – он вода
Ты одно лишь должна знать – я люблю тебя навсегда
Почему голоса звёзд в полумраке едва слышны
Ветер слёзы дождя принёс, только слёзы мне не нужны
Разучился смотреть вдаль, разучился считать до ста
Разучился любить февраль, – он украл тебя навсегда.
Разучился смотреть вдаль, разучился считать до ста
Разучился любить февраль, – он забрал тебя навсегда.
Расстаются, когда ложь, засыпают, когда тьма
И по телу, когда дрожь – разрешают сводить с ума
Если хочешь идти – иди, если хочешь забыть – забудь
Только знай, что в конце пути ничего уже не вернуть
Если хочешь идти – иди, если хочешь забыть – забудь
Только знай, что в конце пути никого уже не вернуть
Если хочешь идти – иди, если хочешь забыть – забудь
Только знай, что в конце пути никогда уже не вернуть
Только знай, что в конце пути никого уже не вернуть
Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.