04 June 2014, Wednesday
"Invitation to the Museum" Alexander A. Kopylov - 90th anniversary
Ninety years ago, on June 4th, Alexander A. Kopylov, the Bolshoi Theatre conductor, an Honored Artist of RSFSR (1974), a People's Artist of RSFSR (1987), a recipient of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1976) and the Order of Honor (1999) was born.
Many of Kopylov's ancestors were musicians as well. His grandfather, Alexander A. Kopylov, was a composer, a violinist, a pedagogue, a permanent participant of "The Belyayev circle" and the author of symphonies, two string quartets, a piano trio and vocal music. The conductor's father, also Alexander A. Kopylov, was a violinist; he graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied in the class of L. Auer. In his childhood and youth Sasha Kopylov traveled around the country a lot together with his father, who worked with various symphony and opera orchestras. Following the family tradition, Kopylov-junior received a music education as well. He graduated from a music college, where he studied playing the bassoon. The future conductor could not enter conservatory right away, because the Great Patriotic War started; Kopylov was able to connect his life with music again only in 1943. He was transferred to the Showcase Orchestra of the Transcaucasian Front, where he worked as a musician instructor. This is where he made his first steps in conducting. After Kopylov had been discharged from the army, he came to Yerevan and entered Yerevan State Conservatory of Music, where he studied until 1951 in the class of C.S. Saradzhev. In 1953-1963 Kopylov worked as a conductor with the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. Those were the times of his professional self-assertion; he staged and conducted 26 productions from the theatre's repertoire, including "Eugene Onegin", "Swan Lake", "The Queen of Spades", "Tosca", "Sleeping Beauty", "Prince Igor", "La Traviata" and many other operas and ballets.
Kopylov's work did not go unnoticed; in 1962 he made his debut at the Bolshoi Theatre and together with the legendary Yuri Fayer and the ballet company went on tour to the USA almost right away. Kopylov devoted 26 years of his life to the Bolshoi Theatre; over those years he conducted 57 productions and, together with the ballet company, toured almost the whole world. This is what a famous musician B. Khaykin once wrote about A. Kopylov: "Alexander and I are students of the same professor, a wonderful pedagogue and the founder of the Soviet school of conducting Constantine S. Saradzhev. A. Kopylov is a brilliant musician and he possesses all the basic elements that make a skillful conductor: wonderful ear, impeccable rhythm and the ability to orient himself in musical material of any style and time period very quickly. His stroke is clear and convincing. Many other things follow; they probably do not catch the eye at once, but in my opinion are much more valuable. I am talking about a high ethical principle. Those who consider ethics to be not the most important part of an artist's creative portrait are so sadly mistaken!"