Let’s promote the young generation – op-ed by Vice-President of the RAO Authors’ Council Alexey Rybnikov


People’s Artist of Russia, Vice-President of the RAO Authors’ Council, Chairman of the Council of Composers’ Union Alexei Rybnikov talks about problems of a new generation of Russian composers.

Russian President wants the Government to promote talented youth in the field of musical art. I am really glad of it. It is absolutely important and timely.

Young composers, performers, musicologists desperately need help of the state. New generation of Russian musicians has already proved its viability and good prospects. Our graduates are demanded all over the world. Works of Russian composers are performed in the largest concert halls of Europe, Asia and America.

For example, several years ago Alexander Khubeyev won a prestigious Dutch competition Gaudeamus. He has already built a successful international career. He is 32 years old. Another St. Petersburg author Ilya Demutsky is a little older and Nastasya Khrushchev is a little younger. She actively cooperates with Alexandrinsky Theater, Demutsky’s ballets are at the Bolshoi Theater. This generation of the so-called Millennials is really very bright. It is important to support them, to give them a springboard for new achievements.

Young people promote creative events, create ensembles, compose and perform new music in Russia and abroad – with minimal support. The youth branch of the Composers’ Union (Molot) initially had no funding at all. So young people could lose faith in their future, they could collapse but they didn’t. Now there is little help from the Ministry of Culture, and Composers’ Union directly allocates funds for a number of concerts. But it still does not allow us give full way to young people.

However, they also need moral support. Media rarely talk about young composers, musical groups rarely perform their works. It is important to popularize contemporary music so that composers do not feel isolated. It is necessary to remind people that our country has not only great traditions, but also new musical achievements.

This form of support is widespread in the world: funds are given to orchestras, ensembles and theaters to order and perform works of their national contemporary composers. If our leading teams of composers received targeted grants, it would solve several problems. First, composers’ professional work would bring them money. Secondly, new scores will be performed to the public. It is very important for a composer to hear his work, especially in good performance. And for the public, it’s a good opportunity to get acquainted with new names.

Finally, performers will gain experience in musical language of the 21st century. This is valuable, because if an orchestra plays only classics all the time, how can it perform modern repertoire? If such concerts are held regularly, musical landscape of the country will change.

There are also legal difficulties connected composers’ work. The very concept of “composer” is absent in the All-Russian Classifier of Occupations and Positions! A graduate of a conservatory who enters Composers’ Union, cannot officially work as a composer. He cannot receive pension or on any social support, medical care etc. This is a huge mistake.

We need to begin solving these problems. If we take care of young composers, musicians today, if we promote their creativity and self-realization, in the nearest future we will see blossoming national culture, famous around the world.