Borislav Strulev: I thouhgt «Should i stand through my life?’’
And said: «I choose the chair!» A Cello Chair!!!
Magazine from St. Petersburg «The Conkurent» had a talk with the famous Russian/American cellist Borislav Strulev.
You can simply say about him: «insanely talented and internationally famous», but Borislav Strulev doesn’t like pomposity and excessive pathos. In the room, where we talk, journalists and photographers peek periodically. They invite the musician to dinner. As Mr. Strulev paraphrases with the smiling: «lets grab some food’’. Bright glowing eyes, easy accent — years in New York weren’t in vain. He wears jeans, jacket, in common. He wears the typical American style. «Maybe coffee? Or white wine?»- offers Borislav.
— Thank you, but it’s too early for wine.
— Sometimes I can take a bit, when I have to put on a show on the stage when I do not pure classical stuff. Cognac, for example. It relieves tension and expansions vessels. All great artists did it.
— How they have been chosen, those great famous musicians? I was sitting at your rehearsal and listening to you. Symphony Orchestra, many musicians are playing well, but there is only one who plays solo…
— It’s really difficult question. You know, how it is: at the audition the producer or manager or conductor asks to play or sing. The singer sang one piece, and the conductor says:»Let’s do something else».
Maybe he can’t sing Baroque — so, let’s do something else. And sometimes you sang a small fragment or played the piece and the conductor says:»Everything is great». It was so in my childhood. I came to the audition for American conductor from Chicago. I was very worried, nervous — what if he won’t like my playing. So, I sit to my place, start to play Lalo’s cello concert, such an epic solo:»tati-tati-ta-a-a» (singing). And the conductor says:»okay- bravo». There are a lot of musicians today. Every year there are a lot of students from schools and conservatories, are graduating. They gave all youth to music. Where do they go? The units continue to play. Can you imagine, for example, eight thousand computer programmers? And only five are working, and the others…??? This subject is very difficult for discussing, I cannot explain. I can’t criticize or blame someone. A person must pass his way of life himself, only the god can judge. A musician’s formation passes not in the one day. The family laid it: schools, travels, friends, museums, books. This complex is quite huge. You can hide something in the art, you can visit a lot of competitions, win this, win that and what to do then? How to have sold out concerts and come back to major halls? How to attract people, who will remember you after two or three concerts and who likes your playing? How to make people waiting for you, for your concerts?
— It seems, that you are good at Siberian geography…
— Before I went to America, I had been all over the Russia. Together with my friend, great pianist Denis Matsuev we had quite wonderful tour in 1993 of the Far East of Russia. There was a decent list of many different cities : Chita, Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Magadan, Sakhalin, Kamchatka, etc. Only God knows how, by trains, by small airplanes I visited a lot of cities, I saw everything.
— And what about your hometown?
— I would say, not the city, but the cities. My hometown is Moscow. But my second motherland is in New York. There a lot of my friends, my favorite places. I miss so much, when I’m not there. My flat, my things, even some of my habits are in New York. But at the same time I grew up in Moscow. I wasn’t in Moscow from 1993 till 2005. The large stage, that completely was lost: another country, work, when I was in Europe, Asia, Africa. And today i feel as if I reopen Moscow and Russia again. It’s quite difficult — to fly over the ocean all the time. But how else? No other way! To my mind, the hometown is where my friends are. When you have your own energetic in a town, when there are people waiting for you. Not just come as a tourist, when an impressing depends on the guide. How many people, so many opinions. For someone New York is «a horror or some», the nightmare city. Simply, there was no luck with a guide who didn’t show NY in a right way. If I showed the NY city, he or she would have another opinion. Or when I came to any Siberian city, I don’t know anyone, where I should go? What to do? And I can’t leave the hotel: my stuff can be stolen or someone can hit my face (laughs). And then you think:»Oh my, I’ll never come here again!» But it’s another way, when you have friends there. There’s your hometown, there’s your motherland. But in general, the musician’s motherland is where his listeners are.
— Borislav, when did you start live with a music?
— All members of my family are musicians. It started in the womb of my mother: she is a pianist and she played on the eight month of pregnancy some musicals and I, probably, had been laying, when, suddenly, thought:»Hmmm, what is it?(smiling). My mother started working at sixteen, she hadn’t graduated the School of music yet. I travelled the world with her. We will have joint concerts soon. My dream is to make our solo concert. At all, to make ‘’The Whole Family’’ concert. Father is a singer in the Moscow State Chamber Choir under baton of Vladimir Nikolaevich Minin. I was at theirs concert — it was breathtakingly. Wish I could bring them to you. Where are the sponsors, where are the people, who do something not for themselves and for their own, but simply — «Comrades, we have twenty super mega genial projects, let’s discuss it and make it «. That’s the most disappointing… Offices, representation, ministries, holdings… But when you turn on — it doesn’t work. I have no words. Well, I digress a bit. (smiles)
— Your dad is a singer, your mother is a pianist, and you are the cellist. Who influenced the choice of the instrument?
— I sang in my childhood, I have some records. I told tales very well, I told «Pinocchio» in characters. I went to a musical school at piano class at the age of 8, with my parents. It was absolutely ordinary district school near our apartment. But there wasn’t recruit to the piano classes. The school director said: «You have two possibilities: either the cello class or violin, you have no time to think». My mother understood that we can’t wait one more year. Nine years to start for piano lessons is too late, five-six years is more optimal for piano classes. But I said to my parents: «let’s go to another school maybe??? what is cello or violin? Dad is a vocalist, mom is a pianist. But a stringed wooden instrument is quite another side! Our apartment is small, and a cello is very, very big! We have no place to put it. You need to buy the case, the bow- we need a lot of money!» But I had to choose. (laughs) and the school director said then:»If you choose the violin and will play on it, you’ll practice and play concerts always standing, but if you’ll choose the cello – you will be always on a chair, sitting!!! And I thought «should I stand all my life? What the hell!» And I said: «I choose the chair!. And he answered:»That’s great, that is decided: And i had big hands…cello hands. Not very classical since I was very active in all kind of sport activities — i played football, mountain bike, etc. The school director said: This boy is perfect for cello and violin will be to fragile for him. My grandmother bought me cello and bow. And a luxury case was sewed somewhere by her order. That case was terribly similar to the case for archery. You know, archers have such cases for theirs bows. So that case for the instrument was made from the same material. To say that you’re a musician-cellist was a shame. And I told everybody that I go to the stadium «Dinamo» for archery. And I heard in response: «wow, that’s cool». Classes began. Mikhail Markovich Agronovich was my first teacher. Recently he founded me on the internet and wrote. It was very pleasant. He’s so intelligent. He was quite patient with me:»Borislavchik, take a bow, your hand put like this, no no, try this way?». And after my class my grandmother was waiting for me in the hallway with hot cup of coffee and sandwiches. And I think: «Oh my God, when it will be over and I will go home to watch some films». And my teacher tried to teach me, tried not to repulse the desire to continue playing. After some time, Mikhail Markovich said: you need to move to a stronger structure than the district music school around our appartment. And then my parents began to think — where, how ? to whom we should call? It was epic — some talent manifests, something has to be somewhere. They started to raise acquaintances. And it’s done, the ‘’broken telephone’’ worked — and we went out to a young teacher from the Central Music School — Maria Yuryevna Zhuravleva, and I became her student. She is a very strong teacher. She has a terrific son, great cellist Sergey Antonov, he’s a winner of the first prize Tchaikovsky Competition. She had — We had the strongest class. We met few years ago, I love her, I respect her. She called me «uncle.» I must sit down and play — «Uncle, come on.» And after some time, Maria Yuryevna said my mother, «Are you ready to make three years of work with your son in one?» And it began… Father goes from work — pick me up, bring to classes by car, take away, there were endless lessons, huge pressure for whole family. And I thought: Wish I were a miner! That was terrible. And so I go to the famous Central Music School in Moscow. I play a little piece. and there was said to my teacher Maria Yuryevna — oh, what a boy! Rated — five (A), five (A), five (A). And for music harmony — two (F)… «Sorry, come next year». And we started again. I wrote musical dictation, day after day for a year. I began to write them mechanically. Came after a year — and all was passed! I remember my first impression of the Central Music School: I went there and I was scared. I go on, shaking with trepidation — I will study there! And there is a guy sitting at the door, with the sign on his chest: «I am bastard.» And I think «Well-Well, that is the Central Music School. In fact, people there have been such … a little out of this world, in a good way, and they were very talented.
— Then various competitions, wins, applause. In ’93 you moved to New York …
— New York… (thinking). We arrived… Study, school, language. It was very hard, I could not play the cello for many months. I played only because of my dear mom, she was the only one near me. We began everything from scratch. Everything was new, I had to learn everything one more time. Also etiquette must be observed. Someone did something good for you — you need to respond in written form, to thank the person. Completely different country, manners are different. We are different: sworn in the morning, and in the evening: «Come on, Sergei, I’m so sorry». In the New York everything is harder: if you made mistake its means the end, goodbye. No second chance. We went through lots of life’s trails there like all people, who are moving to new country.
— Were there any curious cases?
— Of course. Once my friend and me were on the worst street in New York (I won’t call it, who was in NY City, he will understand), there were drugs and so on. And we didn’t know about it. A young man, an African American, came to us and offered me to buy Green Card. I said: Of course. It’s a possibility, the best thing you can ask for. And he called the price — $ 200. That was a lot of money for me. I said: okay, when will you give it to me? And he answered: cross the street and wait for 40 minutes, I will bring it. So, we stand for forty minutes and 1 hour and 2 hours and understand that… So, there were a lot of curiosities. One day I lost my cello bow in a taxi. But life went on, we have to go on with our lives.
— Don’t you miss the Russian Kitchen?
— Well no. I have no special preferences in food. I can be gourmet, as in music. But I have no desire to eat the caviar every day. Although I know certain restaurants in every city, that I visit with a pleasure. One of the latest discovers from my last trip: there is a unique place in Irkutsk (Russia), where the best beef tongue with potatoes with cream sauce are cooked. Do you know where? At the car wash, near the concert hall – that’s why I know. This place just something! I went to this place not to wash my car, but just to eat. Beyond the words, it’s very tasty.
— You’re a foodie in music, it’s clear. What are you listening to? And what do you think about the Russian estrade – POP MUSIC?
— I’m listening to different music, because of mood. There is a billion hours of music on my computer, everything you want — jazz, techno, ROCK, Tango, Lounge… Yeah.. And Russian hits.. This is our homeland, how can I relate? There is a pop song was very popular «The boy wants to Tambov, la-la-la…» and so on in any taxi you will hear that. In any other city — so on. A predictable set, simple tune. But this is our charm and its sell sometimes stadiums, Yes, this is our stage. On the other hand, there is a scary amount of money, promotions, radio, TV, thousand of euros for furious yelling. The whole mafia! (Laughs) Well done — to make such a flowing of «tari-tari-tari»(sings the tune of Murka) and create such an industry. And this pop-individuals – POP STARS somehow can cooperate with us – WITH CLASSICAL PLAYERS. They can speak from the stage: this is my new project, a song with the cellist. We need to work together and be able to create something, we need to promote good music. How else? This is the youth, the future. But there are performers of Russian music, whom I like and listen to. I recorded some songs on a CD with the band «Uma2rmaH». That was their last disc «Where the Dreams may come», the song with Patricia Kaas. They are my friends, very good guys. And i worked with Sergey Mazaev and Tamara Gverdciteli. I have my own album called CELLO LOUNGE together with my friend composer, dj, guitar player Gene Pritsker where we mix classical music and lounge. Its very sexy !
— Borislav you are involved in many projects, both as a musician and as a producer. Charity concerts, searching for new names. Why are you doing this? You are famous, talented, you can simply do what you like.
— There is a billion talented people around — probably, that’s why. At the moment I’m the organizer of my Festival in Russia, called ‘’BelgorodMusicFest’’- Borislav Strulev & Friends also «Day of Russia in New York», this project takes a lot of time and effort. But what is result of it! After all, we hold concerts in New York with super special guests. Russian artists, and musicians coming there. And not only famous from Moscow, but also young, who aren’t popular, and it’s an opportunity to show themselves. I organize in Moscow club, called «Music Assembly «. But not a club, in the sense of where you come, make an entrance fee and play cards. But the club where participants will have the opportunity to play 10 concerts a year in the best private homes or halls for special private music lovers. The Intelligent music and super food with amazing wine. Many art forms will appear. This also will be a kind of stepping stone to help young, still unknown musicians. You know, my great-grandfather on my father’s side was a tradesman. I adored to sell something at all school fairs. Class sold some crafts, pictures, then we handed over money to the teacher on holiday, bought some feed for school animals, just symbolically. It seems, that these productive and entrepreneurial genes appear. I like when everything is in motion — something to do, to work, to make things happen.
Interviewed by Nelly NAZARIAN.
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Ostra Smaland – Sweden 1999 “The concert at Kalmar Castle offering a true tour de force, a demonstration of power, […]
Daily News of Japan 15. January 1998. Audience charmed with splendid cello tone Borislav Strulev’s cello recital took place at […]
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Star Bulletin — Honolulu 28. October 1996. Young cellist richly stirs concerto A refreshing pair of young artists led the […]
Eastside Week — Seattle 2. April 1996. Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra …”Most exciting, however, was the local debut of the young […]
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Критика наградила его целым рядом эпитетов: «виолончелист высоких оборотов», «монстр струнный», «музыкант исключительного темперамента и техники», «один из лучших виолончелистов […]
Премьера программы виолончелиста Борислава Струлева «MIX Египетских пирамид» состоялась 15 декабря в рамках фестиваля «Magic Mix» в особняке приемов и торжеств Петра Смирнова.
9 декабря состоялась ХI ежегодная церемония вручения премии в области развития гостиничного комплекса города Москвы «Хрустальная ладья — 2005″.
Борислава Струлева называют одним из лучших виолончелистов планеты. А его дебют в нью-йоркском Карнеги-холле с легендарным пианистом Байроном Джайнисом, когда они вместе исполнили Сонату Шопена, критики назвали сенсационным.
Молодой, но уже хорошо известный виолончелист Борислав Струлев покорил не только слушателей всех знаменитых концертных залов мира, но и особую публику — участников прошлогодней церемонии вручения премии «Хрустальная ладья»…
3 октября 2005 года Госоркестр принял участие в праздновании Дня города, выступив на двух фестивалях. Это I Международный фестиваль «Музыкальный […]
Звезды устроили модное дефиле и остались равнодушны к итальянскому кинематографу Ксения Иванова 18 июня 2005 В пятницу вечером в столице […]
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Borislav Strulev premiered it in Sweden in June, and now the concerto has found its way to Milwaukee. Strulev played the U.S. premiere here Friday, with guest conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the MSO.
Борислава Струлева в Иркутск на самый первый фестиваль классической музыки «Звезды на Байкале» привез наш знаменитый земляк Денис Мацуев. С […]
Концерт В. Волтона был сыгран на высочайшем уровне. Выходец из России, виолончелист Борислав Струлёв играл с невироятно сильной концентрацией. Обычно […]
“Виолончелист Борислав Струлёв наэлектризовал зрителей.” — Написал Пер-Инге Планефорс Не меньше, чем 3.500 оборотов в минуту. Я конечно имею ввиду […]