About the foundation

Open Sea Cultural and Educational Programs Foundation was established in 2014 with support from the Russian State Library, State Film Actors Theater, and Russian State Academic Drama Theater named after A.S. Pushkin (Alexandrinsky Theater).

True to its name, Open Sea is set to create a platform for free creativity, by uniting talented representatives from all areas of art and providing them unique opportunities for development. For this purpose, the Foundation actively invites business entities for cooperation and funding of cultural projects.

The Open Sea Foundation sees its mission in supporting young talents, developing and popularizing modern Russian art. The Fund’s activities include organizing cultural and educational programs, grants and awards, festivals and performances, exhibitions and charity runs. Since its establishment, Open Sea Foundation has carried out more than a dozen cultural projects in Russia and abroad. Among other things, the Foundation supported a series of concerts by Kaluga Youth Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and other parts of Russia; organized the performance of “The Legend of Joaquin” – a play in honor of the 70th anniversary of Gedrus Matskyavichus, a famous Lithuanian director; supported a concert at the Bolshoi Theater for the 80th anniversary of two great orchestras: State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov” and Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir.

Open Sea Foundation is particularly active in the area of international cultural cooperation. One of its most visible projects is a unique interpretation of Georges Bizet’s Carmen in semi-stage format, uniting actors from Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and South Ossetia. Open Sea International Art Festival organized by the Foundation and featuring Russian and Italian stars took place in Palanga resort, Lithuania and in Riccione, Italy for two years in a row. Other international projects supported by the Foundation also include the largest film festival in the CIS and the Baltic States, “Kinoshok”.

Another unique project that took place in 2016 thanks to the Open Sea Foundation’s support was connected with Russian pilot and traveler Fyodor Konyukhov's solo circumnavigation of the world in a hot-air balloon, setting a new round-the-world time record.


In 2017 a Youth Artistic Creativity Promotion Committee has been established on the initiative of the Open Sea Foundation.


Mikhail Simonyan was born in Novosibirsk in 1985. He started learning violin at the age of five. By 1997, the young talent received his first award at Virtuoso-2000 International Young Violinists Competition, followed by Priznanie International Award in 1998 and a Grand Prix in Siberia’s Young Violinists Contest and an award in Yehudi Menuhin International Contest at Boulogne-sur-Mer the year after that. He played his first sol concert at New York’s Lincoln Center at the age of 13, but he gained international fame in 2000, when the young violinist debuted at Carnegie Hall. In spring 2001, Leonard Slatkin invited him to perform with the US National Symphony Orchestra at the 30th anniversary of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; in 2002 he entertained the guests at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland by Yehudi Menuhin’s invitation. In 1999 Mikhail Simonyan received a Salon de Virtuosi grant covering his tuition at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA.

Currently Mikhail spends most of his time touring Russia and abroad. He has been working with such directors as Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Kristjan Järvi, Leonard Slatking; performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Concertgebouw, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatorium and the Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Philharmonic; playing with the best orchestras, including Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theater, and Russian National Orchestra. In 2014-2015 he headed Kaluga Youth Symphony Orchestra. He plays a Stradivari violin. Mikhail Simonyan has been the President of Open Sea Cultural and Educational Programs Foundation since 2015.