Igor Butman, President of the Authors’ Council of Russian Authors’ Society (RAО): “The creative process is the peak that I try to climb”


In March 2020, in three cities of Russia – St. Petersburg, Tula and Moscow – one of the most successful Russian world-class festivals, The Triumph of Jazz, was held, created by the renowned saxophonist Igor Butman, President of the Authors’ Council of Russian Authors’ Society, and the Head of Moscow Jazz Orchestra.

On the eve of the festival, the maestro met with the editors of the “Severnaya Zvezda” (North Star) News Agency and spoke about the early days of his musical career, the activity of Moscow Jazz Orchestra and his new projects.

In particular, Igor Butman shared his memories of how he began his jazz career in St. Petersburg.

“I was born in St. Petersburg and began my musical career in this city. I remember how I began to practice jazz and visited the “Kvadrat” (Square) Jazz Club and its jazz festivals, and of course the famous “Autumn Rhythms” festival. It was always a great pleasure for me to meet with musicians, to chat … Jam sessions create a very special atmosphere,” he said.

This year, The Triumph of Jazz launched in St. Petersburg for a reason: according to Mr. Butman, the St. Petersburg audience shows great interest in the art of jazz. “We organize jam sessions, master classes, and other events related to jazz here,” he said.

Speaking about the work of Moscow Jazz Orchestra, Igor Butman noted that the 20th anniversary, which the band celebrated last year, has become one of the most memorable events.

“Our orchestra exists 20 years! The main award is that it exists, it sounds, many talented musicians come to the band that have already gained success around the world, but at the same time they love Moscow Jazz Orchestra and its leader. And this is the most important award – what we do and always move forward. Musicians understand how important it is to work,” the maestro explained.

He added that the orchestra’s repertoire includes a wide variety of music – from Modest Mussorgsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky to German Lukyanov and Nikolai Levinovsky.

“I really like the example of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Winton Marsalis: they have many musicians who write for the orchestra. I would also like to motivate young musicians to write for our orchestra, some have already created their own compositions, like Dmitry Mospan, Pavel Ovchinnikov, and Vitaly Solomonov. So our biggest reward is music. And the demand of the orchestra from the public,” Butman commented.

In conclusion, the President of the Authors’ Council of Russian Authors’ Society answered the question of what goals he sets for himself today.

“All that I have not yet done or not ready yet to do, – these are my own unconquered peaks. We climb the mountain, and then go down, then climb again and go down. The creative process is the peak that I try to climb to delight fans of our music, delight those who like to listen to jazz,” concluded Igor Butman.