The Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries Hold Events to Celebrate “The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in The Moscow Kremlin”

May 7, 2009
News Release
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The Galleries will host an array of concerts, films, tours and special events to celebrate the exhibition “The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in The Moscow Kremlin.” On view May 9 though Sept. 13, the exhibition displays 65 sumptuous diplomatic gifts given to the Russian tsars by Turkish and Iranian diplomats in the 16th and 17th centuries. An unprecedented partnership between the Freer and Sackler Galleries and The Moscow Kremlin Museums has allowed these objects, rarely seen outside Russia, to be viewed for the first time in the United States. In honor of the occasion, President Dimitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation has granted the exhibition his high patronage. The Sackler Gallery will be the only venue for this exhibition.

The Galleries will host exciting programs this summer to celebrate “The Tsars and the East” exhibition; the following will be held in conjunction with the exhibition:

“The Tsars and the East” Public Programs
Moscow String Quartet and “Composer between Worlds: Dimitrie Cantemir”

A spectacular concert season from Moscow and Istanbul is lined up to celebrate “The Tsars and the East” exhibition. Thursday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m., join Sofia Gubaidulina from the The Moscow String Quartet, as she performs her String Trio and String Quartet no. 4, Glinka’s Quartet in F Major and Borodin’s Quartet no. 2. Gubaidulina has earned commissions from the world’s leading ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic.

Thursday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m., travel to 18th-century Istanbul and Moscow through the music of composer, scholar and diplomat Dimitrie Cantemir, a flamboyant and brilliant figure who served both Ottoman sultans and Russian tsars. Three instrumentalists from Istanbul join the Lux Musica ensemble to perform some of Cantemir’s 350 works of Turkish classical music and recreate the music from his Moldavian homeland and his later life in Moscow. The performance, “Composer between Worlds: Dimitrie Cantemir,” takes place at the Freer’s Meyer Auditorium. Lecture-demonstrations on Cantemir’s music will be held at the Sackler galleries on Friday, June 12, at 1 p.m., and Saturday, June 13, at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for the June 11 performance can be reserved in advance through Ticketmaster beginning Monday, June 1. Two free tickets per person will also be distributed at the auditorium one hour before showtime.

Asia after Dark
The first event in the new series “Asia after Dark,” will be held on Thursday, June 4, 6:30-11:30 p.m. The ticketed event will feature curator- and docent-led tours of the “The Tsars and the East” and “The Tale of Shuten Do¯ji” exhibitions and permanent-collection galleries; eclectic grooves by DJ Delbar of; Persian food tastings by Mie N Yu restaurant in Georgetown and Johnny Kabob from Germantown, Md.; activities for adults in the ImaginAsia classroom and raffle drawings from area vendors. The event will also include a performance by the Silk Road Dance Company, which will perform traditional dance pieces from Russia, Turkey and Iran.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

The Riches of Early Soviet Cinema
Early Soviet filmmakers created a host of innovative and influential works. Beginning Friday, June 5 through Friday, June 12, the Galleries present four films from three of Soviet cinema’s most renowned masters in “The Riches of Early Soviet Cinema.” A live musical performance by jazz pianist Burnett Thompson will accompany the silent films.

Visit the museum’s Web site for film descriptions and showtimes. Two free tickets per person will be distributed at the auditorium one hour before showtime.

Exhibition Tours
Tours for “The Tsars and the East” exhibition will begin daily at 2:15 p.m., except on Wednesdays and federal holidays.

For more information and detailed descriptions of the Freer and Sackler Galleries’ exhibitions and events, visit

“The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in The Moscow Kremlin” is supported by Lukoil. Additional support is provided by the U.S.-Russia Business Council and the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA. “The Tsars and the East” is also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities and organized in cooperation with the Russian Embassy.

The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or visit the Web site:

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