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Alexander Vustin (Composer)

Alexander Vustin was born in Moscow in 1943. He studied composition first with Grigory Fried at a regional music college, and then with Vladimir Feré at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, graduating in 1969. Between 1969 and 1974, Vustin worked as a music editor at USSR Radio. Since 1974 he has been working as an editor in the Kompositor publishing house.

Vustin's compositions are grounded in basic ideas, on the imagery and message of a work, the gradual and purposeful development of which takes into account all of the temporal and spatial structure of the work. Talking about this he said: "In this case both performers and listeners become participants in a certain action, the meaning of which they clearly understand, but cannot express in words." This approach to music as to an "effective action" is manifest in his creativity in general. Vustin's musical language is distinctive by the remarkable organization of its musical texture. Influenced by the twelve-tone procedure, he devised his own system of 12-fold restatement of tonal series in which a whole musical fragment represents a "tone," which is the smallest unit of measure. Different permutations of this initial unit form series of the highest order. As this demonstrates, Vustin is a composer with an individual world outlook.

The works of Alexander Vustin are often included in the programmes of many major festivals, such as the Tage für Neue Musik (Zürich), Holland Festival, the 14th Musik Biennale BerlinPresènce 93 (Paris), Melos-Ethos (Bratislava), Maraton Soudobe Hudby (Prague), Donaueschinger Musiktage and Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie (Germany), Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus (Austria), Moscow Forum, and Moscow Autumn (Russia). Among performers of his music are the conductors Reinbert de Leeuw, Lev Markiz, Eri Klas, Igor Dronov, Alexander Lazarev, Vitaly Kataev, Martin Brabbins, and Cristoph Hagel. Ensembles include Amsterdam Wind Orchestra, Schönberg Ensemble, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Mark Pekasky Percussion Ensemble, Studio New Music, Ensemble of Soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


"The music of Alexander Vustin is skilful. It can be serious, if the subject chosen by this committed critic of "official" Soviet music requires it: in the "Berceuse hèroïque," where a certain scepticism appears, detached from obvious military clichés, as well as from quotes of Beethoven, Mahler, or Mussorgsky. When the tone is more reserved (A mon fils), one can admire his melodic invention, and the skilful use of a sonic system where the composer exploits intervals without unleashing any theoretical riddles."

Le Monde de la Musique (France)

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