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 Oleg  Karavaychuk


Born:   December 28, 1927

Composer

      

Some call composer Oleg Karavaychuk a genius, others a spook. For the third one he is unknown, although, by and large, his works are known to all. Karavaychuk composed the music for 200 films.

The first was "Alyosha Ptitsyn produces character" in 1953, then "Two Captains" and "Virgin Soil Upturned." Among the most famous are "Brief Encounters" and "The Long Goodbye" by Kira Muratova and "Monologue" by Ilya Averbakh. Only in the last two years he created music for four movies, but nobody paid him. Karavaychuk is the author of music for "The Devils" at the Maly Drama Theatre. He also worked for "Sovremennik".

Wunderkind
There are so many legends and rumors about Karavaychuk that it is hard to separate the truth from fiction, especially, that he passes through this matter least of all. If you remember "Volga-Volga" and one of the final scenes, when the glib pioneer sits at the piano and masterfully plays "Many songs rang over Volga", then this was the first apparition of the young genius to people. Another piano genius, Heinrich Neuhaus admired his play; Stalin himself graciously caressed the head of child prodigy. Karavaychuk composes music at nights when everyone is asleep, and prefers not music-paper but wallpaper rolls and not the traditional characters but old Russian hooks. Karavaychuk lives in Komarovo because for him, the city is vainly and noisy.

The spy
If you have ever seen Karavaychuk you will not forget him anymore. At any season of the year, he invariably puts on a beret with long hair peering out; wears sunglasses, a weird coat or a stretched sweater. At the same time Karavaychuk is so swift that you will not realize right off what gender was the being, who just raced by. He likes to tell stories that during Soviet era, because of his strange appearance and sunglasses, he was repeatedly taken to the police as a "spy", a homeless or a junkie.
"Once at the train station in Moscow, because of me, Shukshin punched a cop in the face, who stuck to me on the platform, as if I was a spy. The cop recognized Shukshin and silently walked away."
- Why do you play in the lying position?
- This way I feel more comfortable.

Lying down and wearing a pillowcase.
It has been long time since Karavaychuk keeps his special look at concerts as well: he plays wrapping his head with a pillowcase so he can see nobody and nothing.

“It is very difficult to play for people. They evoke a feeling of great fatigue just when they arrive. They affect me, they play me, I'm repeating their rhythm. I would put down the entire Philharmonic orchestra, maybe then they would play better.”

- During the concert you comment your performance: "I played like a boss" or "my hand is genius like a hell" or "I'm getting nowhere fast. What does it depend on?
-  Even on persons you meet on the way to the concert, on the audience. Today it was so terrible, so pathetic. It's so hard for me.
 
Monologue
It is worth noting that Oleg Karavaychuk's monthly concerts are held in the museum-apartment of the artist Isaak Brodsky on Arts Square. The next one is scheduled for June 11. This is not a concert in the usual sense: there is no program; Oleg improvises, alternating pieces of his own works with excerpts from classic's works that cannot be immediately recognized, because he executes them in his own interpretation. For Karavaychuk are important such sound nuances, which – let alone the average person – not every musician ponders over. At that, he reasons aloud. The excerpts sound as if they were coming from the infinite inner monologue about art. For example: "The grace is when proportions are unequal. Mass art is terrible for being uniformly: if in a movie someone punches somebody in the face, he also hits you with some musical computer knockout."

Currently, Karavaychuk sometimes acts in St. Petersburg but at the same time, despite of financial difficulties, refuses all commercial projects, working only in those projects that are constructively interesting for him. Karavaychuk often takes part in performances, synthesizing his music, classical and modern ballet, poetry and video. His style is scandalous performance with a pillowcase on his head; playing the piano while lying or on his knees. The composer himself explains this as a desire to get concentrated and to stay with his music only. His main work direction is improvisational composition: in the presence of audience he sits down at the piano composing a work in the course of the play. Two largest St. Petersburg theaters: "Aleksandrinsky" and MDT - "Theatre of Europe" use the music specially composed the performances "Izotov" and "Demons". He presently lives in St. Petersburg, in parental house in the Komarovo suburb.

Awards:
2002 -  Golden Aries Prize for the best music for the film "The Dark Night" (2001, directed by O. Kovalov).
2009 - Sergei Kuryokhin Award For Merits in Development of Modern Art, established by Sergei Kuryokhin Foundation and Center.
2010 - nomination for Steppe Wolf Prize in the "Something" category.
 

 


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