As you know, musicians are living beings, and being capable of generating sounds, they can also talk on the most various topics. Unfortunately, the concert limits leave no time for verbal communications, therefore we decided to fill in this gap, having asked ourselves any possible questions on your behalf, and answering them. It would be just a talk -about everything. About life. About the surrounding world. Without plot or thematic restrictions. Shall we commence?

-The first question is traditional: How did it start? How was the ensemble initiated?

- It was initiated by professor assistant of Saint-Petersburg Conservatory Mr. V.I. Glazunov, who was in search of six musicians for performing famous "The Seasons" by Tchaikovsky, arranged for sestet of Russian folk instruments. So we first got together for this purpose. The idea was rather soon put into life, and then: Then we continued to work together.

- What does the name Art-Contrast mean?

- It means Art and contrast. Contrast in art, art of contrast. Nothing more.

- What kind of contrast?

- The contrast implies that we are at least trying to combine the things which seem to be inharmonious on the face of it. Performing classical compositions on folk instruments we aim to re-open music, to hear it differently, but not to entertain the audience with such a combination.

- Hence, you adhere to serious academic approach?

- And what is serious academic approach. Can we refer I. Frolov or V. Bibergan to it? It's hard to say. But we perform their compositions as well. We would not like to restrict ourselves by any principles, naturally, our sympathies are around classics, but sometimes we deviate from it this or that way. But simplifying it, we may say, that in fact, we adhere to serious approach.

- Not all of the composers whose music you perform composed it for the instruments your group consists of, did they?

- Actually we play music, which was composed for other instruments in the first place, thus we make our own versions. It is a long process, which consists of several stages. First of all a preparatory esquisse is created, and then in the course of rehearsals we reach the final version.

- What do you take as a guide, when selecting pieces of music?

- Desire, taste, sense of style. We hope that the second and third are inherent to us.

- Then concerning the style. Traditionally academic musicians perform in tuxedos, tailcoats. Why do you break this rule?

- We assume, that concert is not just music, but also auditory perception. It a full set of sensations and feelings, perceived by the audience. As you can see our instruments themselves imply certain deviation from the rules. When performing we are not limited by classical repertoire. And the costumes help to underline the style of performing music, adding to and making a full a full visage of the ensemble.

- Do the six of you play together all the time?

- Usually, yes, we do. Actually, any combination is possible - three domras, or a quartet - domra soprano, domra alto, balalaika prima and balalaika contrabass. We often perform with various soloists.

- What creative activities are you interested in? Did you happen to interact with other arts?

- Yes, and rather often. For example, presently there is a number of interesting projects, connected with theater. We are working in Germany on the staging of ballet performance "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" to the music of Russian composers (Musorgsky, Arensky, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc.) There are some other interesting proposals, connected with literary theme.

- How are your relations with western audience developing?

- Russian instruments have always kindled great interest in the West. Though they have mainly one-sided presentation, as folklore. But our experience shows that the "western" audience with great interest perceives the approach, offered by our ensemble. Namely, serious academic performance in combination with folk instruments.

- Do you happen to have any amusing incidents at your concerts?

- I think, that anyone connected with the stage has had them. For example, at the concert in Luxemburg our soloist suffered emotional shock, when she went to make a bow, because her shoe stuck between floor boards, but smiling nicely she flew away from the stage barefooted .

- And the last traditional question: Your creative plans?

- We have always had numerous plans. We hope that we will be able to put them all into life. As I have already told, we have a number of interesting theater and literary projects, they are currently in the process of developing, so we shall speak about them later. In spring we shall record another CD. And, undoubtedly, our new concert and tour programs, which will appear in the nearest future are of specific interest.


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