Dmitri Kourliandski

Just as Clara Iannotta, Dmitri Kourliandski’s (b.1976) musical path started with the flute, encouraged by his parents from the age of five. While studying at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, an incident happened which by coincidence would put him on the compositional route. In connection with a preparatory audition in Paris, he overused his lips and suddenly, after fifteen years pursuing a clearly traced path, didn’t know what to do in life. According to Dmitri Kourliandski himself, composing was never an option, but the academy recognized his talent and several years of study with Leonid Bobylev followed. Under the Russian master’s guidance, he attained the 2003 Gaudeamus Prize – one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious composition competitions – for his vocal piece Innermost man.

Early on, Dmitri Kourliandski disliked composing after arranged models and looked for a freer direction. Since 2004, he calls his works “objective music”, which should not be confused with objectivity, but is instead about finding existing structures outside himself, as opposed to the subjectively imagined. This concept is closely linked to Dmitri Kourliandski’s view of music as a visual phenomenon, entirely freed from time and evolution. In contrast to the art of Clara Iannotta, it does not refer to physical movements but to the actual items – the object shapes – which gradually emerge as the eyes get used to the initial darkness of the creative process.

Dmitri Kourliandski moves seamlessly between a diversity of musical forms. His repertory comprises everything from works for solo instrument and orchestra (The Riot of Spring) to musical theatre, film music (Aelita) as well as his own version of electronic dance music (EDM) in the duo KGXXX alongside sonic artist Andrey Guryanov. It is also worth mentioning that he has worked in a number of ways to favour art music in society – because according to him, music can’t be separated from life. His many achievements include the founding of the first Russian magazine of new music in 2005 (Tribune of Contemporary Music) and the composer’s network Structural Resistance (StRes). He is also active as a teacher and regularly gives lectures and masterclasses around Europe. Nevertheless, Dimitri Kourliandski’s most notable effort is probably the establishment of the International Young Composers Academy in Tchaikovsky City, Perm, in 2011; an important institution in Russian contemporary music which every late summer gathers aspiring composers from all over the world.

Fredrica Roos