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Russian Souvenir: Alexander Pushkin

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Sergei Telenkov –
bass – baritone
Alexandra Chernyshova – soprano
Katie Buckley – harp
Kjartan Valdemarsson – piano
Gerður Bolladóttir – host

Russian Souvenir – is a number of concerts dedicated to Russian classical music in Iceland and Icelandic music in Russia. It is also a musical and cultural friendship bridge between Russia and Iceland. Alexandra Chernyshova is artistic director of this unique cultural music project since 2016.

At the concert “Russian Souvenir: Alexander Pushkin” you will hear not only an incredible collection of Russian musical masterpieces such as aria of Varjazskiy gost from „Ruslan and Ludmila“ by M. Glinka, aria Iolanta by P. Tchaikovskiy or romances by Sergei Rachmaninov, which is recognized by time and generations but also will enjoy the world premiere “ Seven romances for soprano and harp “ based on verses by great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Cycle written by young Russian and already recognized composer Antonina Rostovskaja. It was written in February 2019 especially for awards – winning soprano & composer Alexandra Chernyshova.  Antonina Rostovskaya’s compositions are performed at various concert venues of St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, as well as in Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, the United States of America, India and other countries.The publishing house “Composer” publishes author collections by A. Rostovskaya “Funny Conversation” (editor – A. G. Schnitke), “The Village was driving…”, and also prints individual works of the author. Work is in progress now on the publication of the compilation and CD “Carols-riddles”, an essay for a mixed choir or ensemble and piano. In 2015, the book by K. Vaganova “Composers of Present and Future” was published and A. Rostovskaya was among the represented composers. A. Rostovskaya continues her creative growth by taking part and winning various contests, such as the All-Russian Musical Contest of soundtracks for the animation video “Music and Video Animation”, the All-Union Competition of Composers “Choral Laboratory. XXI Century”. Follow Antonina´s homepage for more info https://www.antoninarostovskaya.ru

Authors of the program would be more than happy to guide you through the magnificent world of Russian vocal music and Russian music culture. This concert is one of a kind opportunity to enjoy compositions rarely performed outside of Russia. Russian Souvenir is an invitation to visit a special, inaccessible world which take listener deep inside the Russian soul. Russian tea served in the intermission of the concert.

The project is funded by the Russian Embassy in Iceland and Menningarsjóður FÍH Culture Fund.

Sergei Telenkov (bass – baritone)
His baritone voice has a wonderful soft timbre and wide range. After graduating from Ural State Mussorgsky Conservatoire, he continued his vocal study with professor Anatoliy Loshak. Sergei is a soloist at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre,  as well as Galina Vishnevskaja Opera Center and Lenkom. Among awards of Sergei is Prize winner of V International Margarita Landa Academic Singing Competition in Moscow, 2019 and  International vocalist competition «ACADEMIA” in  Perm, 2014. Sergei teaches opera singing at Fjodor Shalajapin Music School at Moscow.  He has worked with conductors such as Jean- Yves Ossonce, Barabara Fritolli, Andrei Lebedev and Olive Donanhi. Among roles of Sergei sang on stage are  Zaretsky in “Evgeniy Onegin”, Bertrand in “Iolanta”, Zemfira´s father in “Aleko”, Mazetto in “Don Giovanni” and others. In 2016  Sergei sang  successfully role of Hallgrímur Pétursson on Icelandic language  at Moscow premiere of the
Icelandic opera “The Poet and the Bishops daughter”.

Alexandra Chernyshova (soprano )
Alexandra is well known lyric coloratura soprano in Iceland. She made her way to the hearts of Icelanders through the beautiful crystal voice, sincere musicality and vivid stage presence. After Alexandra´s appearance as Violetta Valery in “La Traviata” by G.Verdi with the Icelandic Opera Skagafjardar company which she established in the North of Iceland in 2006, music critics said that “Miracles still happen”. She graduated from Kiev State Music Institute by R.Glier, National State Kiev Linguistic Universtiy, Odessa National Music Academy by N.Nezdanova, Kiev Management of Education University and Listaháskóli Íslands. Alexandra sang with the Kiev National Radio and Television Orchestra, Kiev Academical Musical Theatre of Opera and Ballet for Youth, International Music Sacra Festival in Marktoberdorf in Germany, Rhodes International Opera Festival in Greece, International Opera Studio by Katja Ricciarelli in Italy, Opera Skagafjardar in Iceland, Icelandic symphony orchestra of the North, New York Contemporary Opera Festival, USA and Spring Music Art Festival in Japan. Alexandra was awarded Artistic salary from the Ministry of Culture and Education of Iceland, in 2008 and received international prestigious award for her cultural achievement in Iceland – Top 10 Outstanding Young people of Iceland JCI, in 2014 and winner of the International Competition of opera singers in Rhodes, Greece, 2002 and the National Competition “New Names” in Kiev, Ukraine, 2002 and others. Recently Alexandra
won Second Prize and Christal Music key award at the International Composer Competition by Isaak Dunajevskiy in Moscow. Since 2019 Alexandra is a member of Icelandic Composers Society – Tónskáldafélag Íslands.

Katie Buckley (harpist)
Katie  began studying harp at the age of 8 in Atlanta, Georgia with Susan Bennett Brady and continued her studies in San Francisco with former San Francisco Symphony and Opera harpist Ann Adams. Katie received her Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree as well as a Performer’s Certificate at Eastman School of Music with Kathleen Bride. In 2006, she became principal harpist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Katie is a founding member of the ensemble Duo Harpverk. Duo Harpverk is a harp and percussion duo with percussionist Frank Aarnink. The Duo has released two CDs, The Greenhouse Sessions and Offshoots, and performs around Iceland and has embarked on several international tours. In addition to Duo Harpverk and her position in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Katie also performs as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States.

Kjartan Valdemarsson  (piano)
Kjartan studied piano at Mosfellsbaer Music School earlier and he went to the United States, while studying at Berklee University of Music 1985-1989. In addition to playing jazz music with all the big names expresses mention in Icelandic jazz, Kjartan has played a lot of pop music, including the band Todmobile. He has worked in theaters and done much in sound studios, both as a keyboardist and a recording director. Kjartan is also a sought-after arranger, but he has done a lot of exposures, among other things f.e. for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Reykjavik Big Band. He has made music for television, i.a. for the Spaugstofan and New Year’s Eve. They played Kjartan for a time with one of Sweden’s foremost major forces; Norbotten Big Band. Kjartan is a teacher at the FIH Music School, as well as working as a pianist with the Icelandic Dance School and the Icelandic Dance Group at Listaháskóli Íslands. Kjartan is composer and recently the Reykjavík Metropolitan band, premiered a complete program of Kjartan’s music works under the title Riff-rildi. In 2017 Kjartan Valdemarsson  was awarded prestigios Music Award in Iceland – Tónlistarmaðurinn ársins.

Gerður Bolladóttir (host)
Gerður  started singing in the church with his father the priest, but began formal singing at the age of 18 at the Akureyri Music School. She completed a graduation degree in singing under the guidance of Sigurður Demetz Fransson and pursued graduate studies at Indiana  University, School of Music in Bloomington, USA,  at the class of Martina Arroyo and Klara Barlow. Gerður gave recitals in Iceland, USA, Greenland, Faroe Islands and Saint-Petersburg, Russia.  In 2004, the album was released in memory of Jón Arason the last catholic bishop of Iceland by Gerdur and Kári Þormar organ player. She also released a CD of Icelandic folk songs of arrangements by Ferdinand Rauter and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Gerður has devoted her attention mainly to lieders and religious music, although two years ago she got the role of grandma Valdís in Alexandra Chernyshova opera ballet “The Northern Lights fairytale”. Few years ago Gerður started to compose music, lieders and got the great opportunity to sing her own songs in Iceland and also in Saint Petersburg, the summer of 2019.