lesson plans
I N T E R V I E W   T H E   A R T I S T S

written by Betsy Sandstrom, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, VA

Grade level: High school


  • The Face of Russia—episode 3, “Facing the Future”
  • Recordings of music by Modest Musorgsky
  • Web site containing samples of paintings by Ilya Repin
  • Video of a film by Sergey Eisenstein

To understand the role of art, music and film in Russian society.


  1. Have the class listen to a sampling of the music of Modest Musorgsky and other Russian composers such as Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Alexander Borodin, or Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Let students familiarize themselves with the art of Ilya Repin by visiting Index of Russian Art. Spend 2 class periods watching and discussing a film by Sergey Eisenstein.
  2. Watch episode 3 of The Face of Russia in its entirety. Ask students to take notes on the segments that focus on Musorgsky, Repin, and Eisenstein.
  3. Explain that students will interview three major figures in Russian culture—Modest Musorgsky, Ilya Repin, and Sergey Eisenstein—using a “talk-show” format.
  4. Divide the class into three groups: Music/Musorgsky, Art/Repin, and Film/Eisenstein. In each group choose a student to be the talk show “host” and one to be the “guest.” The rest of the students in the group will be the researchers and producers.
  5. The interviewer or “host” in each group should study the works of the interviewee and political and historical events that had a bearing on his work. The “host” should develop interview questions based on his/her group’s research and information gathered from The Face of Russia.
  6. The interviewee or “guest” should also study the works of the person he/she represents as well as a biography of that person. The “guest” should be able to explain how politics or history influenced his work and be prepared to answer questions about his life.
  7. Each group should present their “talk show” to the entire class. Students in the “audience” should have questions they prepared ahead of time to ask each “guest.” Remind students to listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.

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