When we Skype, it is three days after Marina Poleukhina has graduated in composition at the Moscow Conservatory. A different, older world. She calls it ‘another space’. The way they think about music, the rules, the educational methods. “Nothing later than Shostakovich.” Elsewhere in Moscow, that’s where it happens, she says. “In recent years a bustling impro scene has popped up. Free-thinking musicians, poets, designers.” It’s where she feels at home. “Improvisation is very important to me.’
She has worked in Moscow for three years but grew up in Saint Petersburg. “A cultural desert”, she says. “Particularly when it comes to new music. Poetry can sometimes be exciting.” For her, Moscow provides a better environment but life is far from easy. “There are no subsidies. At all. And you always feel that the government is exerting pressure. Few ensembles play contemporary music.” In closed circles, they manage to create their own freedom.
“The human instinct to look for security, stability, and to survive (the ability to find something to hold on to); these processes are central to my compositions and music. They are what motivates me.”
Photo © Anna van Kooij