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Repertory Archive

Leonid Desyatnikov


Desyatnikov Leonid Arkadyevich was born in 1955 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He is a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory and a member of the Composers Union. He has been a freelance composer since 1984. Desyatnikov has penned four operas, several cantatas and numerous vocal and instrumental compositions. The composer defines his style as “the emancipation of consonance, the transformation of the banal, minimalism with a human face”; his favorite genre is the “tragically naughty bagatelle.”

His principal compositions include Rosenthal’s Children (an opera in two acts; Vladimir Sorokin, libretto), Poor Liza(a chamber opera in one act; Leonid Desyatnikov, libretto, after the novella by Nikolai Karamzin; Gift (a cantata based on the verses of Gavrila Derzhavin), A Leaden Echo (a piece for voice and instruments based on the verses of Gerard Manley Hopkins) and The Rite of Winter 1949 (a symphony for choir, soloists and orchestra).

Since 1996, Desyatnikov has worked closely with Gidon Kremer, both as a composer (Wie der Alte Leiermann, the chamber orchestra version of Sketches for Sunset, Russian Seasons) and as an arranger of compositions by Astor Piazzolla.  He has also composed the music for thirteen films, including Sunset, Lost in Siberia, Moscow NightsHammer and Sickle, Giselle’s Mania, His Wife’s Diary, Prisoner of the Mountains andMoscow (Grand Prize, 4th Biennial Film Music Festival, Bonn, 2002).

In 2014, Teatro alla Scala commissioned a ballet from Desyatnikov, titled Opera, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky.

Published Compositions by Leonid Desyatnikov:
Poor Liza. Chamber opera. Vocal score
Dichterliebe und Leben. Vocal cycle for tenor and piano
Morning Meditation About the God’s Majesty. For choir a cappella
Variations on Obtaining of a Dwelling for violoncello and piano. Piano score and part
Wie Der Alte Leiermann… For Violine und Klavier
The Leaden Echo. For voice(s) and instruments. Score and part
Tracing Astor. For violin, viola, violoncello and piano. Score and parts
Sketches to Sunset. Quintet for flute, clarinet, violin, double bass and piano
Du cote de chez Swan for two pianos
Nachklange aus dem Theater. Pieces for piano
The Secret Land. Vocal compositions

American Ballet Theatre’s World Premiere of Songs of Bukovina on Wednesday,
October 18, 2017 marked the World Premiere performance of the composition.