composer, People's artist of the RSFSR, State Prize winner
The distinguished Russian composer Valery Gavrilin was born in the northern Russian city of Vologda on August 17, 1939 into a teachers' family. When Valery was twelve he entered a music school. His musical life started in Vologda but flourished in St.Petersburg. In 1953 Valery Gavrilin moved to Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) and linked his musical career with that city. He graduated from the Leningrad Conservatoire as composer and folklorist.
His main interest concerned vocal music. One of the composer's prominent works was "The Three German Books" for male voice and piano to the verse of Heinrich Heine. Another was "The Russian Book" for mezzo-soprano and piano to Russian folk texts. Valery achieved great renown creating his masterpiece - the Choral Symphony. He was the recipient of numerous State Prizes.
A rare gift for melody made Gavrilin an excellent composer of songs. In 1959-1983 Valery Gavrilin composed more than 50 songs and romances. The composer thought that thanks to the presence of words vocal music was easier for the audience to understand and that was crucial for him.
Valery Gavrilin composed several operas and oratorios. One of his three ballets, "Anyuta", was written at the request of the Russian ballet stars Yekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev and ran for years in the Bolshoi theatre. His last work was music for the play "Woe to Wit" by the 19th - century Russian writer Alexander Griboedov.
Valery Gavrilin composed the following works:
- "About Love", vocal cycle after V. Shefner (1961)
- German Song Book, vocal cycle after H. Heine for singer and piano, part 1 (1961-1962)
- "My Talks About Arts", cantata for mixed chorus (1963)
- "To the Memory of the Victims of War", choral cycle (1963)
- Russian Song Book, vocal cycle after Russian Folk Poems for singer and piano (1965)
- "Marina", vocal cycle after Tsvetayeva (1967)
- "Sailor and Waves", opera (1968)
- "Family Album", opera (1969)
- "Seasons", vocal cycle (1970)
- German Song Book, vocal cycle after H. Heine for singer and piano part 2 (1971)
- War Time Letters after A. Shulgina for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1972)
- "Tale about the fiddler Vanyusha, or Consolations", opera (1972)
- "The Evening" after A. Shulgina for voice and piano part 1 (1973)
- "The Evening" after A. Shulgina for voice and piano part 2 (1975)
- German Song Book, vocal cycle after H. Heine for singer and piano part 3 (1976)
- "The Earth", song cycle for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1980)
- "The Wedding" for soprano, chorus and symphony orchestra (1981)
- Suite from the ballet Anuta (1982)
- Symphonic Suite No. 1 (1982)
- "Chimes", miracle-play symphony (1982)
- Fifty-five songs (1959-1983)
- "Shepherd and She-Shepherd" for chorus and instrumental ensemble (1983)
- "The House at the Road", ballet after A. Tvardovski (1984)
- Symphonic Suite No. 2 (1984)
- "Lieutenant Romashov, the duel", ballet after A. Kuprin (1985-1986)
- "Anyuta", ballet after A. Belinski and V. Vasilev (1986)
- Symphonic Suite No. 3 (1989)
- "The Wedding of Balzaminov" after Ostrovsky, opera (1989)
- Fifty-seven piano plays, two and four hands (1964-1993)
- Music for eleven films (1966-1993)
- Three Songs of Ophelia after William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" (1971-1993)
The outstanding composer died at the age of 59 on 28 January, 1999 in St. Petersburg following two severe heart attacks.
In 1999 the Philharmonic Society of Vologda was named after Valery Gavrilin. Since that time annual festivals dedicated to V.Gavrilin are held in Vologda.