Valery Aleksandrovich Gavrilin (1939–1999) is the distinguished Russian composer, having lived in the last third of the 20th century. His creative work is considered to be the kind of brilliant and original side of the world music art. Gavrilin’s music style may be recognized at once, it has imitators. Gavrilin’s music wins the hearts by its natural melodic sphere, modern national colouring, cordiality and sincerity, deep heartfelt compassion to the common people’s troubles and aspirations. This music is fine and serious, it’s smiling and sad, it’s intimately trusty with the kind of a grand soul inside it.
Gavrilin was born in Vologda in the family of the teachers. In 1941 Valery’s father went to the Great Patriotic war as a volunteer and soon perished at the front. Quite accidently the ten years old boy occurs at the children’s home in the village Kovyrino near Vologda.
This time is marked by the beginning of music studying in the Vologda children’s music school ¹ 1. In 1953 the talented boy is discovered there by the Leningrad conservatoire senior lecturer I. M. Belozemtsev. He offers Valery to come to Leningrad. Later the young musician was taken to the seventh form of the Special music school at the conservatoire to the clarinet class. Now he lives in the school boarding house. However, Gavrilin is much more willing to study composition (S. Ya. Volfenzon’s class) and piano playing. In 1958 immediately after graduating from the school he enters the composition faculty of the Leningrad conservatoire, the class of professor O. A. Yevlakhov. However, he goes over to the musicological faculty on the third year studying, choosing the folklore as a profession, guided by F. A. Rubtsov. Gavrilin finishes conservatoire in 1964, specializing in two subjects — musicology and composition (as an external student). The same year Gavrilin is admitted to the post-graduate studying (supervisor O. A. Yevlakhov), which he doesn’t finish because of the bad health. In 1965 Gavrilin enters the Composers’ Union of the USSR. During the period between 1965–1973 Gavrilin firstly worked as the theoretical subjects’ teacher, and afterwards he taught composition in the music college at the Leningrad conservatoire. For a year Gavrilin was the editor in the publishing house “The Soviet Composer”.
In 1967 the young composer was awarded the Glinka State prize of the Russian Federation for his vocal cycle “The Russian Notebook”. Two years later Gavrilin was given the title of “The Honoured art worker of Russia”, in 1980 — the Leninsky Komsomol Prize for the vocal-symphonic poem “War Letters”, vocal-instrumental cycle “Land” and the song “Two Brothers”, five years later Gavrilin was awarded the USSR State prize for the symphony-action the “Chimes” together with the title of People’s Artist of Russia.
V. A. Gavrilin is the author of music to 4 ballets, 38 performances, 11 films, 4 significant vocal-symphonic canvases, symphony suites. He created 60 pieces for piano for two and four hands, more than 50 songs and romances, several chamber-vocal cycles, compositions for choir a cappella and also a great deal of chamber-instrumental compositions. Besides the musical compositions, Gavrilin is the author of mostly interesting articles on the musical-journalistic topics, literary essays, epistolary heritage, diaries, sketches and drafts of unrealized ideas.
The “Compozitor • St Petersburg” Publishing House plans to issue V. A. Gavrilin’s Collected Works in 20 volumes during the near future. The contents is the following:
Published Compositions by Valery Gavrilin:
for piano and other instruments
Waltzes for piano and piano in 4 hands
Sketches. Volume 1
Sketches. Volume 2
Sketches. Volume 3
Pieces for piano. Volume 1
Pieces for piano. Volume 2
Pieces for piano. Volume 3
Holeovlia. Piece for violoncello and orchestra
for voice / choir
Romances. For voice and piano
The Seasons. Songs for middle voice and piano
Evening. Vocal cycle for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano. Little Album
Three Songs of Ophelia. From the tragedy «Hamlet» by W. Shakespeare
Russian Notebook. Vocal cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano
Songs for Children
Books about the Composer (in Russian)
…This Amazing Gavrilin…. The second edition, verified and supplemented
Catalogue of Valery Gavrilin's Compositions
Otyugova T. Composer Valery Gavrilin. Biographic Essay
Tevosyan A. Chimes: Valery Gavrilin's Life, Creation, Views
Gavrilin’s Music on CDs
Valery Gavrilin’s Compositions for Hire