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Edison Denisov

Edison Denisov was born 1929 in Tomsk, Siberia into the family of a radio physicist, who gave him the very unusual first name Edison, in honour of Thomas Edison. He studied mathematics before deciding to spend his life composing. This decision was enthusiastically supported by Dmitri Shostakovich, who gave him lessons in composition.
In 1951–56 Denisov studied at the Moscow Conservatory composition with Vissarion Shebalin, orchestration with Nikolai Rakov, analysis with Viktor Zuckerman and piano with Vladimir Belov. In 1956–59 he composed the opera Ivan-Soldat (Soldier Ivan) in three acts based on Russian folk fairy tales.
He began his own study of scores that were difficult to obtain in the USSR at that time, including music ranging from Mahler and Debussy to Boulez and Stockhausen. He wrote a series of articles giving a detailed analysis of different aspects of contemporary compositional techniques and at same time actively experimented as a composer, trying to find his own way.
After graduating from the Moscow Conservatory, he taught orchestration and later composition there. His pupils include composers Dmitri Smirnov, Elena Firsova, Vladimir Tarnopolsky, Sergei Pavlenko, Ivan Sokolov, Yuri Kasparov, Dmitri Kapyrin, and Alexander Shchetinsky.
In 1979 he was blacklisted as one of the "Khrennikov's Seven" at the Sixth Congress of the Union of Soviet Composers for unapproved participation in some festivals of Soviet music in the West.
Denisov became a leader of the Association for Contemporary Music reestablished in Moscow in 1990. Later Denisov moved to France, where after an accident and long illness he died in a Paris hospital in 1996.

'Music is a spiritual art. It shall bring light and good to people. Genuine Music speaks about eternal things. There are moments of enlightenment, when the artist sees a different world. This is a moment of mystery, and not everyone is destined to have an insight into it. It is here that the lofty art begins, the border of spirituality that few people are destined to step over. Freedom is a major condition for creative work. But freedom can be archieved only through perfection. As contemporary music-writing becomes filled with clichés, it is particulary important to reject them and form a unique form of expression. A composer must not work for the market. Genuine art can be created only in silence and in solitude. A genuine artist feels the transience and senselessness of the fuss around him and is capable of creating something genuine and eternal. The artist must work in solitude and have a communion with God in the inner recesses of his soul. I salute Music as Art and underline the responsibility of an artist before himself and before God.'   Edison Denisov

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Edison Denissow 1975

 Edison Denisov 1975