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INTERVIEW: Russian composer Yury Kunets

1) Hi Yury, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you! Everything is great!

Yesterday I received a message to say that my new single, “Russian Winter”, has been listed on the Apple Music playlist Classical Christmas, which is really great. To have a track featured alongside such great artists is such an indescribable feeling. https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/classical-christmas/pl.6b498dbf3aed441dac75bd335e1d3dd5

2) Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Russian Winter”?

In terms of melody and rhythm, “Russian Winter” uses many of the features of traditional Russian music. I wanted to convey the character of Russian traditions, especially at this time of year… In winter, many national religious holidays are celebrated in Russia, including Christmas. I wanted to put across the image of three harnessed horses with jingle bells, sleigh rides, fairs, folk festivals, etc. I love to share the mood and spirit of this amazing time of the year!

3) Did any event in particular inspire you to write this track?

Everything mentioned above inspired me to compose this piece of music.

To understand any nation, first of all you need to understand its culture, its folk traditions and history. Some people write in prose, poetry, or draw pictures. I try to paint with musical notes to create my audible canvas.

4) Any plans to release a video for the single?

The music video is already in progress and will be edited in January. I previously released another seasonal video for my track “Autumn”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IdWHCoaqn4

5) How was the recording and writing process?

I like to compose music in the traditional way, and with this piece in particular the music came to me very naturally. Everything fell into place in perfect harmony: the thematic idea of a “Russian Winter”, the melody and the cadences.

I already knew what I wanted to say, musically-speaking. When the piano version was recorded at Robert Irving’s wonderful studio in Los Angeles and [the conductor] Lee Holdridge listened to it, it was already clear what the arrangement should be in execution. Lee is a world-class musician and arranger, and I’m also lucky to work with record producer Chris Alder! They make a great team! TOP class! I owe them a lot!

6) What role does your nationality play in your music?

I was born in Donbass, in the USSR. When I was growing up, we lived alongside people from all sorts of nationalities, and we all got along well. We respected each other’s beliefs and cultures. My Ukrainian, Russian and Polish roots go way back. There were no professional musicians in my immediate family, but music was very much loved and understood. My paternal grandmother played classical guitar and my mother sang very well. But my uncle, who incidentally discovered my ability and talent for music in early childhood, was a professional musician. He played the trumpet in the local orchestra. It all began with him…

7) After having spent so many years collaborating with others – what made you make the decision to compose your own music?

I first started experimenting with writing music in my childhood. It always fascinated me, and I was always happier inventing something of my own than simply repeating something composed by someone else. Then, by the time I was studying in music school, I began to look at it differently…

I always composed music, as they say, only for myself and for a narrow circle of my friends. Then a time came when it was necessary to throw it out to a wider audience. I always dreamed of writing symphonic music and having it played by an orchestra. There are more so many more features to make use of and a whole other palette of sounds. I was lucky enough to find this opportunity in Hamburg, when I met a very talented pianist, Aleksandr Markovich. He suggested ways to make it happen, and helped me to release my first album, Renaissance, in 2011. Then I just couldn’t stop…

8) Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?

My goal when composing is to convey my attitude to life and to the world around us, through music. Although it might sound a little pompous, it really is like that. There are, of course, occasional offers to collaborate on certain projects, but I scarcely see myself doing them. I can’t say I’m drowning in requests to collaborate, but nevertheless, it is important to me.

9) Does the new single mean we can expect an album in 2019 – how’s that coming along?

A new album is in the works and has already been recorded by the fabulous Munich Symphony Orchestra. The album will be available on all accessible digital streaming platforms in early 2019.

10) Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The name of the album is “Reflection”. We are planning to release it in early 2019.

11) Any plans to take your music on tour?

A tour would take a lot of co-ordination, dedication and perseverance, but I do have ambitions to pursue this idea in future.

12) What else is happening next in Yury Kunets’ world?

I do not like to stop and stand still, and I will continue to work for many years yet… I would like to explore composing for film and television. My head is full of cinematic ideas! I love the idea of writing for ballet and musicals too.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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