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Kirill Volkov


Honoured Artist of the Russia (1984), Winner of the Glinka State Award (1987), Professor (1989), Academician of the Petrovskaya Academy of Arts and Sciences, Winner of the RAO Award (2003), Winner of the Russian Prize "Soul of the Dance" (2005).

In 1967 he graduated from the A.I. Khachaturyan's class of the Moscow Conservatoire, in 1969 he finished the post-graduate studies under the same professor. Since 1967 he was an editor in the "Soviet Composer" Publishing House (editing department for symphonic music), in 1969-1975 he was teaching instrumentation in the Gnesins' State Musical Pedagogical Institute. In 1970-1978 he was teaching composition in the Moscow Conservatoire, and since 1978 to 1988 reading symphony score and instrumentation. Since 1988 up till now he is the Head of the Composition and Instrumentation Department at the Gnesins' Russian Academy of Music.

Major works: Operas:

"Peasants' Tale" (1972; 2 version 1975), "Our Gaydar" (1978), "Live and Remember" (based on V. Rasputin's short novel, 1980; chamber version 1984), "Bagpiper from Strakonits" (1984), "Tyerkin, Tyerkin..." (1985), "Hagiography of Lieutenant Soshnin" (1987), "Elephant" (1989)


"Doctor Zhivago" (1994), Carmen (2008)

For symphonic orchestra:

Symphonietta (with 2 bayans, 1965), 2 symphonies (with mezzo-soprano, 1969; in memory of N. Myaskovsky, 1971), 2 concertos for an orchestra ("Andrey Rublyev" with solo for the quintet of wind instruments, 1970; concerto for the great symphonic orchestra with a bass-guitar, 1975) Concertos:

For a bayan and a small symphonic orchestra (1972); for a mezzo-soprano and a cello and an orchestra (1973); for a quartet of harps, a flute, an oboe and a string orchestra (1978);

For chorus:

Cantata "My Ouiet Motherland" (1984); "Song" (1985); "Visions on the Hill" (1986); mystery-play "Habakkuk" (1992); cantata "On the Seven Hills" (1995); choruses based on the Russian Orthodox canonic texts (1987-2005); different works for female and mixed chorus.

Chamber instrumental ensembles:

Sonatina-impromptu for a violin and a piano (1969); "Vladimirsky Triptych" (1971); Sonata-diptych for a cello and an organ (1972); Concertino for a bassoon and a piano (1974), Suite "Russian Cities" for a harp quartet (1975); Quintet for the woodwinds and a French horn (1977), Poem-picture for a cello and a piano (1984); "Stichera of Ivan the Terrible" for a cello and a bayan (1987), suite "Florence" for a mandolin and a guitar (1995), Quartet for 4 cellos (1996), "Pskov suite" for a balalayka and a piano (1996), Sonata for a cello and an organ (1998); 4 sonatas and sonatinas for a piano, 3 sonatas for an organ, 3 sonatas for a bayan - and many different works for academy and folk instruments.

For the Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments (ORFI):

Suite "Ladoga" for ORFI and a mezzo-soprano (1968); Suite "Swan Gliding Over Waters" (1973); Three Russian waltzes and suite Houses of Moscow.

As well as: pieces for different instruments and ensembles; vocal cycles; music for children; pieces of pedagogical repertoire for different instruments; music for radio and TV performances; musical scores for drama theatres and films

Kirill Volkov about the Teacher "The most striking example of a genius musician of the Armenian nation was represented by my teacherAram Ilyich Khachaturyana great son of his mother-land Armenia, citizen of our country, a man of the world at all times.

Teaching us creative composition he led each of us along his own specific path, showing how to beat such path in the thicket of tendencies, trends and influences, guessing unerringly the nature of a Japanese Nobuo Terakhara, of a Tadzhik Tolib Shakhidi, or of mea Russian, a young Moscovite.

He taught us never to yield to the temptation of easy success, never to bustle, never "run in the hope to catch up with the pendulum of the Time", but to dig and dig again in the search of precious fountain springs of water of life. When I, being in the second year of my studies, suffered a serious creative crisis, it was Aram Ilyich who advised me to turn to the folklore of the Russian North. I presume he understood me better than I did myself.

Since that moment everything became full of sense for methe sources, the lessons and the goals merged into a unityand I started walking along my own musical path. I am still beating the same path".

Aram Khachaturyan about Kirill Volkov

"...Kirill Volkov. He is very Russian, very modern, very much a folk composer..."

"...He is one of those who are to take upon their shoulders the burden of caring about the future fate of the Soviet music..."

"...There will come the day when the range of the Russian composers will read like this: Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Volkov..."

Russian womanRussian countrysideRussia. The start of the theme

In the year when he finished his postgraduate studies, Volkov created the first two of his significant compositions: opera "Peasants' Tale" and the First symphony that became sort of landmarks, marking the "length" of the range of the composer's vision. The theme of the Russian countryside is reflected both in the opera and in the symphony by means of the image of a Russian woman that symbolizes patience and self-sacrificing love.

New Turn of the Theme Among the most significant works of the instrumental opuses by Volkov are the concert-pictures "Andrey Rublyev" (1970), "Vladimirsky Triptych", the Suite for four harps "Russian Cities" (1975). It would be unwise to search these works for the program subject-matter declarations. One can rather found there a very specific state, mood, associated with the architecture of an ancient Russian city, with the harmony of church domes, the ancient frescos.

The bell-sound phonics, holiday chords of the gusli, the sound form of several themes, resembling canticles of the Znamenny chant resurrect the traditions of N. Rimsky-Korsakov and M. Mussorgsky.

In his heartfelt cantatas for chorus without accompaniment "My Quiet Motherland" written on the verses by N. Rubtsov (1984) and "Song" on the lines from "Song about Igor's Campaign" (1985) Volkov chooses a highly generalized text with the minimum number of words, each of which grows up to the scale of a symbol.

In the sphere of chamber opuses the most prominent are the Second ("Chastogovorky" ("Ditties")) and the Third piano sonatas. Treating piano as an instrument with great percussion possibilities, the composer offers his own interpretation of the genre of the Siberian "chastushka". With the help of energetic, hard, tenacious sonorities, sparkling with cold brilliance of non-pedal timbre, K. Volkov here achieves a new quality of the piano toccata style.

To his best works belong also three sonatas for a bayan, written for the famous performer Frederick Lips. Kirill Volkov discovers new possibilities of one of his favorite instruments. In the Second sonata, dedicated to the 600 anniversary of the battle on the Kulikovo Field, the epic theme began to sound in the pronouncedly chamber, directed not "outside", but "inside" tone, in a very original "author's" monologue.

The "late" chorus period of Kirill Volkov's work is characterized by growing interest to organ. "The King of All Instruments" is interpreted by the composer in its "Russian" hypostasis, which is not surprising: organ-positive was depicted even in the frescos of Saint Sophia of Kiev, and in the 15th century an Italian composer and organist Giovanni Salvatore, who joined Russian Orthodox Church, became Ivan Spacitelev, a Russian gentleman. There exists some evidence that he continued to practice music till the end of his life. These are only two facts, taken at random from the vast history of organ in Russia. As Kirill Volkov hopes, this history will be supplemented with one more page: his own three sonatas for an organ (that have been performed both in Russia and abroad). At one of the recent international festivals "Moscow Autumn" there was performed the Sonata for a cello and an organ, which was written at request of David Geringas, a famous cellist and M. Rostropovich's student.

"Live and Remember'

In the opera "Live and Remember" the theme of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is interpreted in a chamber key. In the short novel by Valentin Rasputin there are no battle scenes or enemy shotsthere are human fates twisted by war. Only one episode, an particular

history of one peasant family, that got lost in the outback of a small Siberian village, grows up to the level of a people's tragedy. The theme appears in the same way in the musical interpretation by Kirill Volkov.

Opera "Live and Remember" was staged at the Moscow Chamber Musical Theatre in 1984, as well as in Dessau and Dresden in 1988, and brought its creator great success.

"Tyerkin, Tyerkin..."

Opera Live and Remember" was followed by "Tyerkin, Tyerkin... K. Volkov says about it: "The accordion playing, and the granddad with his fiddle, and folksongsall these are voices of the "small Motherland", of the forefathers hearth. The theme of bonds that tie man to them is very important for Tvardovsky... I've tried to keep in my opera this very lyrical tone, this "warmth of the patriotism", as Leo Tolstoy put it that colours the Tvardovsky's poem".


Kirill Volkov selected from this ancient Russian epic masterpiece the "clamps" of meaning (D. Likhachev's term), in which every word is brimming with the energy of meaning. These are the symbols of the sun, the daybreak, of the Russian land, of birds, trees, grass, sea, clouds, darkness and thunderstorm. The nature appears like a second Scripture here, like a new Revelation. And indeed, everything in the selected text acquires symbolic meaning, becomes the symbol of this or that sign: the battle is compared to a thunderstorm; arrowsto rain, a bird and a tree are associated with sorrow.

Self-perception of a man in the "Song" is in harmony with the bottomless polyphony of the earth, that allows one to hear things hidden behind the words, where a word is just nourishment for the silent work of the mind. Kirill Volkov attempted to comprehend the very essence of the phenomena of the reality, to discover the mysteries of the universal notions: LifeDeathImmortality-LoveCreative work.

"Doctor Zhivago"

The fact, that Moscow composer Kirill Volkov was awarded the "Soul of the Dance" prize for the best ballet music was an outstanding event. His score is woven from sparks and flame of the spiritual burning of the creator that gave birth to a piece of momentously-monumental art of ballet.

To comprehend the significance of the romance "The Candle Was Burning on the Table..." that is being performed while the public is only taking seats in the hall. This romance permeates the whole score of the ballet as the theme of creative work and love. It is as simple and sincere as a song. Anybody can sing it (what happens rarely with modern music). But indeed the music of this ballet is saturated with pure, extracted from everyday life and real history genres: the waltz element, inherently connected with the three-pace rhythm of Pasternak's poetry (noted by A. Voznesensky), the black-earth "Siberian" choruses, eruption of which mark the turning-points of the story (the composer says that he had an intention to continue here the tradition of "Khovancshina" by Mussorgsky), the famous chant, quotation "Let be reposed with the holy", Christmas carol "Angels in Heaven", remarkable for its origin (this religious text was sung by the Russian nuns to the folk tune "Little Quail").


During the last two decades in the midst of our spiritual music a genre of musical hagiography was being formed. The mystery play of fifteen parts "Habakkuk" (1990) by K. Volkov turned out to be the greatest opus of this genre among those written in the end of the 80iesbeginning of the 90ies. Based on the texts of the "Hagiography of the Arch-priest Habakkuk" (17th century), this opus is the first musical version of Habakkuk's hagiography, analogous to one that in modern literature is represented by the short novel by D. Zhukov. Turning to the images of the Old-Believers is an old tradition for Russian art. This theme had been worked over by many Russian writers, painters and composers.

And if Aram Ilyich Khachaturyan once called me (says K.Volkov) a musical grandson of N. Myaskovsky" (his Teacher), then I am happy that my son opened up for public, as conductor, a whole series of chorus opuses both by Khachaturyan, Myaskovsky, and Prokofiev. That means that the live thread of times goes on stretching out into the future..."


Works for piano

mp3 - D.Ablogin

Sonata N3
mp3 - N.Kuchaeva

Sonata N4
mp3 - I.Tichomirov

Sonata N5 - "Russian North" new!
mp3 - L.Stelmans new!

Works for organ

Sonata N1

Sonata N2

Sonata for cello and organ

Skladen for bayan and organ

Chamber works

Sonatina-impromptu for violin and piano

Quintet for woodwinds and horn

Suite "Florence" for mandolin and guitar

"Schutz" with Gorochova (for 8 cello)

"Russian Towns" - suite for a harp quartet

Three easy pieces for harp

Vocal works

Russian folk songs

Romances (F.Tutchev)

"Berezka" (for children)

Works for chorus

Church Choirs

Vladimir's tropar

Georgy's tropar

Cantata "The Tale" on the text
from "The Tale of Igor Campaign"

mp3 - Conductor B.Tevlin

Cantata "My Serene Motherland" (N.Rubtsov)
mp3 - Conductor B.Tevlin

Secular Choirs

Works for Orchestra

Concerto for Simphony Orchestra (full score)

Works for String orchestra

"Pulse" - diptych for Strings and Percussion (full score) new!
"Pulse" - diptych for Strings and Percussion (parts) new!

Works for Russian folk instruments

Sonata N1 for bayan
mp3 - F.Lips (bayan)

Bayan concerto (clavier)

"Verbeugung Tomaso de Celano"
for cello and accordion

"Stichira of Ioann Grozny" for cello and bayan
mp3 - V.Toncha (cello), F.Lips (bayan)

"Pskov's suite" for balalayka and piano
mp3 - A.Gorbachev (balalayka), T.Chaninova (piano)

Concerto for domra and simphony orchestra (partitura)
Concerto for domra and simphony orchestra (parts)

Capriccio for domra and piano

Works for orchestra
of Russian folk instruments

Five pieces for orchestra

"Russian Waltzes" (full score)
"Russian Waltzes" (parts)

Suite "Moscow House" new!

1. Melnikov House (full score)
1. Melnikov House (parts)

2. Cholodnaya House (full score)
2. Cholodnaya House (parts)

3. Mosselprom Hause (full score)
3. Mosselprom Hause (parts)

Suite "Moscow Boulevard" new!

1. "Strastnoy Boulevard" (full score)
1. "Strastnoy Boulevard" (parts)

2. "Gogol Boulevard" (full score)
2. "Gogol Boulevard" (parts)

3. "Tsvetnoy Boulevard" (full score)
3. "Tsvetnoy Boulevard" (parts)

Volkov's email