IV, V & VI
Notes & Bios
Lectures & Concerts
October 1, 2000
Vladislav Agafonnikov (b. 1936) is a composer and head of composition at
Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music. He has been awarded the high rank
of People's Artist of the Russian Federation. He serves as vice-president
of the All-Russian Union of Composers and is the Shostakovich Prize
Laureate of the All-Russian Union of Composers. He has been a member of the
European regional group of the International Music Council (ERG) since 1986.
Agafonnikov is the author of four operas, two ballets and many
symphonic, chamber, choral and vocal compositions. His style is very
lyrical, for it combines Russian folk and quasi-folk melodic and harmonic
structures and forms unique to Russian music, like the variation.
Agafonnikov's music has been performed in all major music festivals
in Russia and other countries of former USSR as well as in many foreign
Yuri Boutsko (b. 1938) has devoted his life and art to adapting the old
Russian chant (called "znamenny rospev") to modern times, while at the same
time preserving its context and religious meaning. The znamenny chant is interpreted
by Butsko as "the ideal of spiritual perfection, a goal to be constantly pursued."
The composer has constructed an original system determining the "method of
working with znamenny chant." The underlying principle of the
system is a melodic scale extracted from znamenny chant (the ancient
Russian tone-row). Although the scale is limited by the compass of a human
voice, Boutsko extends it in by adding tri-tones [or trichords] above and
below until the initial starting pitch is restored. The system is open and
contains twelve tones. Boutsko describes it as a kind of Russian
dodecaphony, applying a twelve-tone row extracted from Russian material.
Boutsko's religious approach determines specific qualities of his music:
extended durations, a continuous elaboration of each image or motive, and
an absence of sharp contrasts. The ever intense 'tone' and the need to
shape an exhaustive statement generate the quality of "extended time,"
sometimes to the extent of meditation.
Boutsko's music has been widely performed in Russia and many other
Irina Dubkova (b. 1956) is a composer who works in the international office
of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music as well as in its department of
composition. She is a former student of Roman Ledeniov, and is the author of two symphonies
and other symphonic compositions, ballets, chamber works, choral and vocal
pieces as well as compositions for children. Her music is very lyrical,
delicate and impressive.
Dubkova's symphonic, chamber and vocal music have been performed across the
Russia (in Saint-Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Briansk, Novgorod, Kaluga,
Yaroslavl, Ulan-Ude, Smolensk, Pskov, Vitebsk, and Moscow). Her music has also
been heard in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Finland.
Her compositions have been regularly performed in the Yearly
International Music Festival "Moscow Autumn".
Andrey Golovin (b. 1950) graduated from Moscow Conservatory in 1976 and
studied composition with Prof. E. Golubev and instrumentation with Prof. Y.
Phortunatov. He graduated from the Post-Graduate Course of Moscow
Conservatory in 1979 and has been teaching composition at the Gnessin
Academy of Music in Moscow.
After a period of writing music influenced by Messiaen and Jolivet,
he consciously proceeded to a more traditional Russian style. Based on the
preservation (not the destruction) of the existing cultural strata, his
recent works are more tonal and melodic, allowing him the freedom
to concentrate less on formal issues and more on content.
Golovin's music has been performed in major music festivals in
Russia and other countries.
Faraj Karaev (b. 1943) studied at the Baku Conservatory (1961-1971) with
his father, a famous Soviet composer Kara Karaev. He taught composition
and the theoretical courses there and at the Moscow State Conservatory. He
organized a number of orchestras and music festivals in Baku and Moscow. As
an avant-gardist and a member of ASM (Association for Contemporary Music),
Karaev developed his own style of musical expression, including elements
of instrumental theater as well as painting, literature, dramatic and the
plastic arts. He often uses "mobile" and "open" forms, and quotations from
the music of different composers including the music of his father.
Karaev's music has been performed at important music festivals in
Azerbaijan, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland.
Leonid Karev (b. 1969) is a composer and organist, and has lived in France
since 1992. He has continued the Russian tradition by adapting the old Russian chants
and Russian folk songs to contemporary music. Karev is a student and follower of
Yuri Boutsko. His music is defined by its nature: it is often heavy and dark
and yet revealing its sincere character, its author's "Russian soul". Karev
works mostly with chamber, vocal and organ music.
Karev is a wonderful organist, the Prizewinner of the International
Tournament of Music of Rome (1999/2000), First Prize winner of "Marcel
Dupré" organ competition (1998), and the First Prize of honor winner given
by the unanimous l'U.F.A.M. jury, Paris, France (1996).
Mikhail Kollontay (b. 1952), a composer and pianist, is the
author of many large symphonic, choral, and chamber pieces. His music is
highly lyrical, full of sonority and emotion. The main principle of his
compositional technique is the detailed accuracy by which he executes his
ideas, structurally, formally, and notationally. Kollontay thinks and works
polyfunctionally, polyphonically-in large dimensions. The composer's pieces
are extremely complicated for performance. However, these scores sound
extraordinarily bright and clear-the visual heaviness of the musical
texture stratifies into graphic lines of a vocal type.
In 1981 Mr. Kollontay became the winner of the All-Union
Competition of Pianists, and in 1982 he participated in the Tchaikovsky
International Competition where he was awarded a diploma and a prize for
the best performance of the compositions by Tchaikovsky. His concerts sent
him to many European countries, as well as the US and Japan. Currently Mr.
Kollontay is a Professor of Piano at the Moscow State Conservatory. His
compositions have been performed in the USA, Germany, England, Scotland,
France, Austria, Australia, Sweden, The Czech Republic, Slovakia and other
Nikolai Korndorf (b. 1947), one of the most prominent Russian composers of
his generation, has lived in Canada since 1991. His music combines
different styles and techniques, various musical materials (the medieval
chorale, elements of modern rock music, folk music and 'underground' music)
and contains the characteristic features of romantic music, European
vanguard music, instrumental theater and American minimalism. All this is
not mixed up simply in his compositions but very thoughtfully organized
into an emotionally deep and philosophically serious whole, within distinct
structures and forms. The composer's music discusses the problems of
spiritual life, of beauty and ugliness, of a person's relations with the
surrounding world. Korndorf started as an avant-garde composer, writing
atonal and expressive music. Around 1980 he turned towards tonal music in
order to achieve more stability in his compositions and express a single
major emotional state in each of them. He has created a Russian kind of
minimalism, which employs a very deep, conceptualistic meaning, capturing
the atmosphere of a national Russian sound.
Korndorf's music has been widely performed in Russia, Germany,
Canada and other countries.
Roman Ledeniov (b. 1930) writes beautiful, highly lyrical music without any
sign of showing-off or willingness to attract its audience. He used to compose in the
New Viennese style, but starting around 1972 he returned to a more traditional
Russian style, using Russian folk and QUASI 19th-century neo-romantic music
within a minimalistic texture. The majority of his works are
symphonic, choral, vocal and chamber.
Ledeniov is the Secretary of the All-Russian Union of Composers, the
People's Artist of Russia, is a Laureate of the Russian State Prize, and is
currently a Professor of Composition at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory
of Music. His music has been widely performed throughout the world.
Vladimir Nikolayev (b. 1953) has experimented with different genres within
academic, electro-acoustic and theater music. Formally and motivically, his
compositions are very strictly systematized, and this organization can be
distinctly heard in the music. At the same time, his music is often based
on the mysterious transformations of noise into strange sounds, of simple
verbal-syllabic combinations into something similar and yet approaching a
new and beautiful language. The composer does not like to comment on his
compositions because he believes his music speaks for itself: it's very
warm, comfortable, vivid and easy to listen to.
Nikolayev is a laureate of the First International Vitold
Lutoslawsky Competition, Warsaw (1991), and received the First Prize
Laureate of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund (Boston, 1992). He is a
permanent participant of the international festivals of contemporary music
in Moscow and other cities in Russia as well as abroad.
Olga Rayeva (b. 1971) graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky
Conservatory (1994) with Prof. E. Denisov (Composition & Orchestration)
and Prof. Dr. Yu. Cholopov (Music Theory). In 1994-1996 she attended postgraduate
courses with Professors E. Denisov and V. Tarnopolski. Since 1993 she participated
in a number of seminars for composition in Germany under prominent German
professors, such as P. H. Dittrich, G. Staebler, and M. Spahlinger. Rayeva has been a
member of the Moscow Composers' Union and the Russian Contemporary Music
Association since 1995. Rayeva is the first prize winner of the "Goffredo-Petrassi"
Competition for orchestral compositions in Parma (1997), and a Laureate of the
International Composers "Forum '98" in Montreal, Canada.
Her compositions have been performed in a large number of international music
festivals in Russia and other countries such as: Moscow Autumn, Moscow-Modern,
Muzicki Biennale Zagreb, Music Bridge (New York), Heidelbergisches Internationales
Festival für Neue Musik, NovAntiqua (Cologne), Vom Grunde des Leidens (St. Pölten),
Moscow Forum, Alternative, Gaudeamus Musik Week, Moskauer Kuenstler in Berlin,
Festival for Russian Music (Gent), "Kremerrata Musica" (Lockenhaus), ISCM World
Music Days (Seoul), Dresdner Tage für zeitgenössische Musik, Wiener Tage für
russische Musik, and Russische Musikwoche Bern.
Dmitri Riabtsev (b. 1969) is the author of many chamber, vocal
and orchestral music, including compositions for the orchestra of Russian
folk instruments, for the theater and cinema. Riabtsev is the adherent of a
kind of "new simplicity" and "new
tonality" using post-minimalism elements. At the same time, the composer
has worked out a special system using a 24-tone row, which is employed
inside tonal or modal structures. A special element of his system is
rhythm, which uses the regular metrical schemes displaced against bar lines
as well as other rhythmic irregularities. His compositions are usually very
expressive and lyrical. The composer has a bright melodic gift, that is why
his music is always full of polyphony, each voice of which is distinct and
has a unique color. His instrumental canvas are notable for the faultless
listening of the timbres and the clearness of the textures.
Riabtsev's music has been performed in the festivals of
contemporary music in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Israel and other
Albina Stefanou (1969) is a composer and sound designer. She studied composition
at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow (she finished her post-graduate
studies in 1995). Since 1993 Albina was experimenting with electro-acoustic music
at Theremin-Center in Moscow, continuing her education in computer music at
Dartmouth College, NH (M.A. in 1997). Her compositional style varies from
avant-garde computer music to funny pseudo-Russian songs for kids, from
lyrical symphony music to impressionist chamber ensembles. A very special
instrument for her is the human voice used in her pieces as speech, vocalize,
song, sprechstimme and the basis for text-sound compositions. Syncretism is
another important attribute in her thinking. Her
music was performed at a number of festivals: Moscow Autumn (Moscow, Russia),
Alternativa (Moscow, Russia), Retrospective-Perspective (Ekaterinburg, Russia),
Synergien (Berlin, Germany), Swarthmore Music and Dance Festival (Swarthmore
College, PA), Downtown Arts Festival (New York, NY), as well as in Poland, Koeln,
Vladimir Tarnopolski (b. 1955) studied composition with N. Sidelnikov and
E. Denisov and musicology with Y. Cholopov at the Moscow State Conservatory
(1973-1978, postgraduate course 1978-1980). He has been teaching
composition there since 1992.
Tarnopolski is a representative of postmodernism, which is the
opportunity to create new hierarchies, relations, techniques in each
composition according to its own individual plan. He writes music in the
avant-garde tradition, with clear structures, highly refined textures, and
well thought-out details. Although his music combines elements of different
stylistic sources (dodecaphony, collage, minimalism) and sonoristic effects
with a delicate quality of sound material, Tarnopolski's pieces seem to be
very concrete in the use of images and even characters. He often gives
poetical titles to his compositions, but without literary programs. The
sound of his works is intense and expressive.
Tarnopolski is also a devoted advocate of Russian music in the world. He is
the founder of the Studio for New Music at the Moscow Conservatory. He
organizes the Moscow Forum Festival of Contemporary Music and is a board
member of the Association of Contemporary Music in Russia (ASM).
Tarnopolski's music has been widely performed throughout the world,
including the most prominent music festivals in Europe.
Aleksander Vustin (b. 1943) is a composer of mostly chamber music, although
he has written some symphonic works and an opera. He follows the
post-Webernian style of composition and has developed a special 12-tone
technique in which he combines the strong 12-influenced (twelve tones
repeated) organization and the diatonic structure of Russian medieval
chant. With the help of this technique he tries to attain perfection and
integrity in his compositions. Vustin's music maintains an original sense
of time, with clear and beautiful motivic relations. It brings a very
special sensation of intimacy, openness of expression-cordiality. While the
composer does not attempt to make his music attractive, nor does he promote
it, it always finds its way to the hearts of the listeners.
Vustin has participated in many important music festivals, including Sergey
Prokofiev Festival, the Festival of New Russian Music in Duisbirg
(Germany), ACM Festival in Paris (France), Moscow Autumn and Alternativa in
Sergei Zagny (b. 1960) is a radical experimentator and conceptualist. He
has worked in almost every possible direction of composition: minimalism,
electronic music, instrumental theater, happenings, verbal, other
non-notated music and even structuralism. His compositions are often
influenced by mathematics and are always very logical, even in the "free"
genres. Most of his compositions are diatonic and built as multivariated
structures, giving to the performer the freedom to choose (the simultaneous
working-out of an adequate system of notation). In his pieces, Zagny tries
to cognize cosmos in its whole. Zagny is a performer of improvised music
playing piano and nontraditional instruments.
Zagny's music has been performed in Moscow, St. Petersburg, as well
as other cities in Russia; in Italy, Germany, USA, England, France,
Switzerland, on the festivals Alternativa, Unrecognized Movement
(Volgograd), Bang on a Can (New York), European Media Art Festival
(Osnabrück, Germany), The Third Mikhail Chekhov's Festival (Forrest Row,
England), OPERATIVes Künstlehrfest (Berlin), Kykart (Tzarskoye Selo),
Edinburgh International Festival (Edinburgh), Seminar with Tom Johnson
(Saint Germain les Angles), Moscow Autumn (Moscow), and Mental Landscapes