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Valery Aleksandrovich Gavrilin (17 August 1939 – 28 January 1999) was a Soviet and Russian composer. People's Artist of the RSFSR (1985).


Valery Gavrilin was born in 1939 in Vologda. When he was 3, his father died as a volunteer during the Siege of Leningrad. His mother was imprisoned when he was 10 and Gavrilin was sent to an orphanage in the village of Kovyrino near Vologda. At the age of 11, Gavrilin entered a school of music where I.M. Belozemtsev, a teacher at Leningrad Conservatory, happened to hear him and from the age of 12 to 16, Gavrilin went to the children's school in Leningrad to study clarinet, piano and composition. In 1964 he graduated from the Conservatory with two specialities: composition (under professor Orest Evlakhov) and musicology (under professor F.A. Rubtsov). Shortly thereafter, Gavrilin published the vocal cycle that would make his name, the Russian Notebook. He continued at the Conservatory as a teacher.

In television and film, he often collaborated with director Aleksandr Arkadevich Belinskiy.

Valery Gavrilin died in 1999 at the age of 59 in St. Petersburg, following two severe heart attacks. The asteroid 7369 Gavrilin was named in his memory. The name was suggested by the Union of Concert Workers of Russia, and the official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 24 January 2000 (M.P.C. 38196).

The 70th Anniversary of Gavrilin's birth was marked by a Gavrilin Festival in October 2009, which included concerts in his memory in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Vologda, and Cherepovets, and which included a performance by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev.

Musical style

The art of Gavrilin is one of the most vivid and striking features of contemporary Russian culture. After having composed "The Russian Music Book" he entered into music of the 1960s in the period of the so-called "neo-folklore wave" which was a kind of parallel to the art of such Russian "country-writers" in the genre prose as Vasili Belov, Viktor Astafiyev, and Vasily Shukshin. The truthful picture of the contemporary life of people, their mood, expectation, hopes and sorrows is presented in Gavrilin's music.

Both the esthetics and the style in Gavrilin's art are the vivid example of the neo-romantic. First of all it can be seen[by whom?] in the composer's inclination towards the genre of song mostly favored by romantics, in the ethical and fine development of song forms. To reveal the tragic content the composer uses the developed and symphonized song form which is sometimes close in the manner of intonation to "crying" and "lamentations". They are traditional genres of a Russian village song.

In Gavrilin's instrumental music an appreciable place is given to a programme miniature, to character and genre pieces forming his suites, orchestra suits and variety entertainments. Having been staged in the Naples theatre "San-Carlo" and in the Bolshoy in Moscow by V.Vasiliev, Gavrilin's ballet Anyuta became widely known.

Being vocal by nature, Gavrilin's talent has its own unique intonation. Just like his beloved romantics he worships melody. The soul of his music is in a fresh primordial melodiousness. Its pure national character is also expressed in the composer's inclination to the "natural" and "native" harmonies.

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