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Sergei Slonimsky, russian composer  Sergei
  Slonimsky

 
  • THE CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN COMPOSER
  • PROFESSOR OF ST. PETERBURG CONSERVATOIRE
    AND SAMARA PEDAGOGICAL UNIVERSITY
  • ACADEMICIAN OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF EDUCATION
  • THE PEOPLE'S ARTIST OF RUSSIA
  • WINNER OF THE GLINCA STATE PRIZE AND
    OF THE ST.PETERSBURG GOVERNMENT PRIZE
 

He was born in 1932 in Leningrad, studied composition under Shebalin, Evlakhov, polyphony - under Nicolai Uspensky, the author of the reading book "Samples of Ancient Russian Vocal Art", piano - under Artobolevskaya, Savshinsky, Nilsen.

The modern Russian composer, professor of St. Peterburg conservatoire named after Rimsky-Korsakov and Samara Pedagogical University, Winner of the Glinca state Prize and of the St. Petersburg Government Prize, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, the People's Artist of Russia. He was born in 1932 in Leningrad, studied composition under Shebalin, Evlakhov, polyphony - under Nicolai Uspensky, the author of the reading book "Samples of Ancient Russian Vocal Art", piano - under Artobolevskaya, Savshinsky, Nilsen.

The composer's father was a Russian writer and an active member of the literary circle "The Serapion Brothers" - Mikhail Slonimsky (1897-1972); his uncle Nicolai Slonimsky (1894-1995) was a famous American musical expert, the author of fundamental musical encyclopedias; his father's cousin Anthony Slonimsky (1895-1976) was a famous Polish poet and political dissident.

Sergey Slonimsky is the author of such operas as "Virinea" (1967), "The master and Margarita" (1972), "Mary Stuart" (1980), "Hamlet" (1990), "Tsar Ixion" (1993), "Ioann the Terrible's vision" (1995); of ten symphonies (The Tenth - "Circles of Hell" after Dante - recorded on CD in Russia), the ballet "Icarus".

"Virinea" was staged in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Perm; his opera "The Master and Margarita (chronologically the first adaptation for stage of Bulgakov's novel) had been prohibited for stage during seventeen years after the performance of the first act in the Leningrad House of Composers conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky. "Mary Stuart" was staged in Samara, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, Olomouts, Alma-Ata. Dramma per musica "Hamlet" is on in Samara and Krasnoyarsk. The ballet "Icarus" was shown in Bolshoi Theatre, on the stage of the Kremlin Palace of Congress (choreographer and performer - Vladimir Vassiliev), in the Mariimsky Theatre of St. Petersburg (choreographer Igor Belsky) and in Brno (choreographer Daniel Visner).

Sergei Slonimsky the author of more than a hundred compositions, among them - Concerto-Buffo (performed several times in the USA and England conducted by Yuri Temirkanov), Organ, Violin, Oboe, Balalaika, Electric Guitar Concerts, recently finished Piano Concert ("Jewish Rhapsody"), Cello Concert, 24 preludes and fuges, which are played in Russia and abroad and are in the pedagogical and concert repertoire of pianists.

Theatre and symphony opuses of the composer were perfomed by such famous conductors as Kondrashin, Yansons, Grikurov, Rozhdestvensky, Chernushenko, Sinaisky, Simonov, Ermler, Chistyakov, Talmi, Krents, Class, Sondetskis, Dalgat, Nesterov, Provatorov, Kovalenko, Shcherbakov and many others.

One of the new compositions by Slonimsky is "Petersburg's Visions" after Dostoevsky was perfomed by Yuri Temirkanov in eight cities of the USA, including New York (Carnegi Hall), Boston, San-Fransisco, Los-Angeles in 1996.

Slonimsky is also the author of many vocal compositions: the cantata "Songs of Freedom" based on Russian folk songs (1959); "A Voice from the Chorus", words by A. Block (1963); "Song of Song of Solomon" (1973); "One Day of Life of ancient Indian book Dhammapada" (1998; this cantata is dedicated to Alfred Shnitke, Slonimsky's close friend); "David's Psalms" (1968); "Minstrel Songs" (1975); chamber vocal ensembles lyrics by Akhmatova, Brodsky, Kushner, Rein, Kharms, Antony Slonimsky. In the list of his works there are sonatas - Piano, Violin, Cello, Viola suite, Piano pieces for children; music to the filmes by G. Poloka "SHKID Republic" and "Intervention" (Vladimir Vysotsky, who plays the main character, sings the song by Slonimsky in this film); by F. Emler "Before the Court of History" (Monologue of the Russian anarchist Shulgin).

In the 1960-1970s Slonimsky went to several folklore expeditions to the Novgorod, Pskov, Leningrade, Perm regions, he recorded a lot of texts and melodies of ancient and modern Russians folk songs. The composer is a constant organiser of a cycle charity concerts in the Peterburg Fund of Culture, reviving unjustly forgotten works by Russian composers from Balakirev to Shcherbakov, Shebalin, Klusner, Prigozhin.

Slonimsky finds congenial fantastic realism, "black" humour and tragic grotesque of such classical writers of Russian art as Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Bulgakov, Kharms, Zoshchenko. In some of his compositions he follows the style of avantgarde music ("Antiphones" for String Quartet, "Polish Verses" , "Dialogues" for Wind Quartet, "Concerto-Buffo", "Colour Fantasy",simphonic poems "Appolo and Mars", "Peterburg Visiors", "The Tenth Symphony" and other opuses. In most of his prominent works Slonimsky strives for creative refraction of untouched archaic layers of Russian "melos".

Sergei Slonimsky constantly lives in St. Peterburg. Characteristic features of Peterburg culture one felt in his works.

Frow the begining of the 70's the composer has worked in cooperation with theatres, the Philharmonic Hall, the Pedagogical University and Samara musical college. The festival dedicated to the music of Slonimsky was held in the old Russian town of Samara in 1994. In 1999 the world first night of "Ioann the Terrible's vision" took place in Samara, staged by Robert Sturua under the musical conduction of Mstislav Rostropovich. The house was full 13 times during 3 months of 1999 and is on with great success.

Slonimsky often takes part in concerts of young musicians and children, he composes music as a pianist-improvisator, reviving the old tradition of improvisation on the philharmonic stage.

The defining feature of Slonimsky's creative activity is universality. This is evident, above all in complete freedom of national cultures, historical periods, expressive means with the range and diversity of the individual style.

 


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