New Russian Quartet

Enjoy our charming interview with the New Russian Quartet; Julia Igonina - violin, Kharitonova Elena - violin, Mikhail Rudoy - viola, Alexey Steblev - cello!

We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours?

Green is the color we all like. Associated with freshness, peace and prospects.

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

It's difficult to choose one. Gunter Pichler used to say (at the masterclasses that some of us participated in) “a musician has only 3 true friends – the metronome, mirror and recorder, use them with care”. Valentin Berlinsky said: “when you play quartet each of you should play all four instruments simultaneously”, Alexander Galkovsky said: “Between the performer and the audience the energy is the only thing that matters. When it’s packed properly”.

How has your practice changed with time?

Most of us have played in quartets for almost all of our careers. And every time you think you can minimize (if not avoid) the routine of specific 'quartet things' like very fine and slow work with (for example) intonation – life brings you back to this procedure. The only thing you can do is – start enjoying it. What has changed is that we manage to talk less. But it’s very fragile. Concepts, ideas, priceless remarks…)) When we manage broadcasting them to each other without words – everyone feels happy.

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

Let’s look at the top. Very roughly, there are 3 types there:

1. The artist that combines huge external incontinence with very poor taste (in our understanding at least) if not quality and still (or because?) is incredibly commercially successful,

2. The celestial, always on a direct telephone line to God himself, sometimes condescending to the crowned heads and presidents, can afford almost whatever but with the most prophetic and majestic appearance. Also popular and well-paid and promoted.

Should we consider these traits the most important?

If we say yes – we probably should try to approach these standards, but we just can’t. Not because we are that “true” or “pure”, it’s just that these are 'inorganic' things for us – we can’t do this. Some people can naturally do this and of course it’s also a result of hard work and a great skill, but not the one we ever were taught and wanted to possess. That’s why we aim to approach the conditional type 3 whose main traits are professional excellence and sincere love to music. Not only these two, but these two are most important. All the rest – self-promotional activities, repertoire flexibility (or conversely – concentration), and many other things are just the options.

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

It depends on the number of concerts we have ahead. If there are many – Facebook, if less – e-mail )))

Seriously, it’s separate hard work and we are lucky that we are four – one can take over when the other is done. Generally, we are lucky we are four even if ,commercially, it’s directly inside the gap - either too many (compared to soloists) and expensive, or too few and quiet (comparing to orchestra). Every quartet knows what we are talking about.

Tell us about your upcoming CD :)

Well, It’s been released now, have a look at itunes. The idea was to record and gather, in the format of one CD, the original quartet masterpieces that were used in soundtracks to different movies – from blockbusters like Total Recall to art-house like The Unbearable Lightness of Being. That’s why you will sometimes find the separate movements of quartets. There’s the exception (for everything said above, modestly adds our cellist) – The Complete String Quartet by Alexey Steblev, our cellist. This music was composed after the themes he wrote for several movies and weren’t initially written for quartet.

We stepped onto the pretty dangerous path playing with movies, soundtracks, separate movements etc., but we did try to be most careful and sincere and we hope to keep it in our new concert program where there will be the video-art things based on these movies. We are planning the CD promo-tour with this new program.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

Let’s go according to the score;

1. Julia’s daughter is 1 month old now. We don’t have the answer from Julia, but I guess her reading list is very interesting now. When it’s not spoiled by preparations for her recital in the Moscow Philharmonic Hall.

2. Elena is reading Leonardo handwriting by Dina Rubina.

3. Michail plays viola. Mm, what was the question?

4. Alexey is re-reading John Fowles’ French leutenant’s women after about 10 years and finds a lot of novelties.

Do you have an all-time favourite recording?

1. No reply. We guess now it’s something to do with a lullaby :)

2. Keith Jarrett.

3. Tchaikovsky. String quartets performed by the Borodin quartet of Kopelman- Abramenkov-Shebalin-Berlinsky period. 4. Mahler 9th, Berliner Philharmoniker, John Barbirolli

What about other hobbies, apart from music?

Music is not a hobby for us even if it’s paid relatively bad :))) If we were to mention other things that we do in life, it will be (in random order) mountain skiing, teaching, poker playing, sailing, venture business development, conducting, kids growing))

Quotes to live by...?

You will not believe it, but it’s still “One for all and all for one”.

Follow the New Russian Quartet on Hello Stage!
Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
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