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Composer Viktor Suslin Is Dead

The composer, publisher's editor and publisher Viktor Suslin died on 10 July 2012 at the age of 70 following a long, severe illness.

Suslin was born in 1942 in Miass (Ural). From 1950 until 1961 he attended the Music School in Kharkov, studying the subjects piano, composition and music theory. From 1962 until 1966 he studied composition (with Nikolai Peyko) and piano (with Anatoli Vedernikov) at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow. From 1966 he was a publisher's editor at the Moscow music publishing house Musyka, where he was in charge of the first Russian edition of the stage works of Richard Wagner, amongst other projects. From 1972 until 1975 he taught instrumentation and score playing at the Moscow Conservatory. Together with the composers Vyjacheslav Artyomov and Sofia Gubaidulina, Suslin founded the improvisation group Astreya in 1975. Suffering from increased performance bans, Suslin emigrated with his family to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1981. He lived here as a publisher's editor at Sikorski Music Publishers and as a lecturer at the Lübeck Music Academy near Hamburg. Renowned interpreters such as Gidon Kremer, David Geringas and Mark Pekarski were committed to the performance of his works, so that he was regularly represented at various festivals of contemporary music (in Paris, Cologne, Tokyo, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Zürich, and later also in Moscow and St. Petersburg) from the 1980s onwards. In 1990s Suslin moderated a series of broadcast workshops (WDR, NDR) and led master courses in France and the Czech Republic. Starting in 2007, Suslin was the managing director of Belaieff Music Publishers. In 1990 he received the Cultural Prize of the Pinneberg district.

Viktor Suslin's catalogue of works is not particularly extensive, but highly varied, especially in the area of chamber music. He took care to give each new work its own individuality as regards compositional technique and aesthetic. His expressive spectrum ranges from ecstatic passion (Patience, Leb’ wohl, Poco a poco II, In My End Is My Beginning), meditative-lyrical concentration (Trio Sonata, Mitternachtsmusik, Le deuil blanc), from humoristic-bizarre excursions (Sinfonia piccola, Three Choruses based on Daniil Charms, Gioco appassionato, Terrarium) to works with mystical-magical traits (Chanson contre raison). In terms of character, Suslin's music is more lyrical than dramatic, but also very expressive. He avoided superficial contrasts and artificially dramaturgical effects in his works. Minimalism and polystylism were foreign to him. The basis of his music was in pluralism of materials, not of styles.


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