Leonid Desyatnikov

born on 16/10/1955 in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine

Leonid Desyatnikov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Leonid Arkadievich Desyatnikov (Russian: , born: 16 October 1955, Kharkiv) is a Russian composer who first made a reputation with a number of film scores, then achieving greater fame when his controversial opera Rosenthals Children was premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Life and career

Leonid Desyatnikov was born in 1955 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He is a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied composition and instrumentation. Desyatnikov has penned four opera, several cantatas and numerous vocal and instrumental compositions. His principal compositions include: Rosenthals Children (an opera in two acts; libretto, Vladimir Sorokin), commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre; Poor Liza (a chamber opera in one act; libretto, Leonid Desyatnikov, after the novel by Nikolai Karamzin); Gift (a cantata based on the verses of Gavrila Derzhavin); The Leaden Echo (a work for voice(s) and instruments based on the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins); and The Rite of Winter 1949 (a symphony for chorus, soloists and orchestra).

Desyatnikov has been collaborating with Gidon Kremer since 1996 as a composer (Wie der Alte Leiermann...; the chamber version of Sketches to Sunset; Russian Seasons) as well as arranging the works of Astor Piazzolla, among which is the tango-operita Maria de Buenos-Aires and Quatro Estaciones Porteñas. Desyatnikov wrote the scores for the films Sunset (1990), Lost in Siberia (1991), Hammer and Sickle (1994), Moscow Nights (Katya Izmailova) (1994), Giselles Mania (1995), Prisoner of the Mountains (1996), All That Is Tender (1996), Moscow (2000), His Wifes Diary (2000) and The Target (2010).[1]


Desyatnikov was awarded a Golden Ram prize and the Grand Prix of the IV International Cinema Music festival in Bonn for his score for Moscow and the special prize of the Window to Europe Cinema Festival in Vyborg. In 2006 the opera Rosenthals Children received the special jury prize of The Golden Mask National Theatre Award. In 2003 Desyatnikov was awarded the State Prize of Russia.


Desyatnikov is the author of four operas, the symphony The Rite of Winter 1949, vocal cycles to the poems of Rilke and the OBERIU poets, and several instrumental transcriptions of themes by Ástor Piazzolla. The style of his music is defined by the composer himself as an emancipation of consonance, transformation of banality and minimalism with a human face. His favourite genre is a tragically naughty bagatelle.


  • Poor Liza ( ) one-act chamber opera, libretto by Leonid Desyatnikov after Nikolai Karamzin (1976; 1980)
  • Nobody Wants to Sing or Bravo-bravissimo, Pioneer Anisimov ( , -, a comic opera for children in two acts, libretto by B. Chaban (1982)
  • Vitamin of the Growth ( ) one-act classical opera for children, for the soloists and piano after the poem by Oleg Grigoriev (1985)
  • Rosenthal's Children ( ) opera in two acts, libretto by Vladimir Sorokin. Commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre, premiere March 23, 2005

Chamber music

  • Variations on the Obtaining of a Dwelling for violoncello and piano.
  • Wie Der Alte Leiermann for violin and piano
  • Du côté de chez Swan for two pianos
  • Sketches to Sunset, quintet for flute, clarinet, violin, double bass and piano
  • Return for oboe, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello and tape

Other genres

  • Gift (Dar), after Gavrila Derzhavin
  • Liebe und Leben des Dichters, a vocal cycle to the poems by Daniil Kharms and Nikolay Oleynikov
  • The Leaden Echo, for voice(s) and instruments after Gerard Manley Hopkins,
  • Russian Seasons for voice, solo violin and strings

Music for symphony orchestra

  • The Rite of Winter 1949, a symphony for chorus, soloists and orchestra.
  • Sketches to Sunset for orchestra


  • Lost Illusions

Film music

  • Lost in Siberia (" ", 1991, Mitta)
  • Katia Izmailova (Moscow nights) (" ",Todorovsky, 1994)
  • Hammer and Sickle (" ", Livnev, 1994)
  • Giselle's Mania (" ", Uchitel, 1995)
  • The Prisoner of the Mountains (" ", Bodrov, 1996)
  • His Wife's Diary (Uchitel, 2000)
  • Sunset ("", Zeldovich, 1990)
  • Moscow ("", Zeldovich, 2000)
  • Target ("", Zeldovich, 2011)


"A farce, a popular opera, a folk play or a parable - all of these descriptions are valid for the bright, joyful production of Tsar Demyan which premiered on the stage of the Maly Drama Theatre on June 20 and 23 as part of the "White Nights" Festival. The folklore play about the apostate Tsar and his martyred son has its roots in the persecution of the first Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and was extremely popular in factories and villages alike, even gaining popularity among the military. Essentially, the play was a true piece of folk theater - and folklore, as we know, is always anonymous. It was decided to write the music for this play in the spirit of folk primitivism." (Giulara Sadykh-zade in St. Petersburg Times Issue No. 682 (49), Friday, June 29, 2001)

"Leonid Desyatnikov's Rosenthal's Children, composed to a libretto by the highly controversial fiction writer Vladimir Sorokin, has just opened at the Bolshoi Theatre. The production is arguably the season's most provocative. Here, Mozart is a clone brought to life at Doctor Rosenthal's laboratory. With the government subsidies for cloning and stem cell exploration, as well as for other areas of basic research, cut off during Boris Yeltsin's presidency in the early 1990s, clones of Mozart and other great composers-such as Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky - find themselves loose on Moscow's streets, exposed to the murky post-Soviet reality, memories whereof are still fresh for many Muscovites." (Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA Novosti, political commentator, Saturday, June 10, 2006)

"The Bolshoi was nominated for Leonid Desyatnikov's new Rosenthals Children, which was accused of being "pornographic" and prompted an investigation by the Russian State Duma when it opened last year..." (By Ben Mattison, March 24, 2006)

"Gold Mask 2006: Special Awards of the Musical Theatre Jury. Bolshoi Theatre for the initiative of developing contemporary Russian opera with Rosenthals Children by Leonid Desyatnikov and Vladimir Sorokin." (Official announcement)

See also

Category:Ballets by Leonid Desyatnikov


  1. Leonid Desyatnikov - composer and artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre. Composition: Today. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.

External links

  • Portrait CD on Quartz
  • Two Mozarts
  • Review
  • Scandal in Bolshoi
  • Loyal children
  • Not art, but pathology
  • The rest is noise
  • Rosentals Children. Synopsis (in Russian)
  • Autobiography, works, publications (in Russian)
  • Interview 2003 (in Russian)
  • Interview 2004 (in Russian)
  • Interview 2005 (in Russian)
  • Leonid Desyatnikov at the Internet Movie Database
This page was last modified 24.11.2013 22:02:15

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