The Composers' House in Ivanovo
Coordinates: The Composers' House in Ivanovo, Russia, also often simply referred to by musicians as "Ivanovo", was created in 1943 by the USSR Union of Composers and its organizing committee. Their goal was to help Soviet composers during these difficult years and to give them the opportunity to continue to do creative work while ensuring basic living conditions, at least during the summer months.
The Composers' House is located on the current outskirts of the city of Ivanovo (Ivanovo Oblast), Russia, about 9 km from the city center, and about 250 km north-east of Moscow, on the former estate of land owner A. Stefan, a relative of Baroness Nadezhda von Meck, in (what used to be) a very secluded and quiet area near the small river Kharinka, bordered by spacious fields and a beautiful little forest of centuries-old oaks and birches (nicknamed "Prokofiev's grove" by composers who find it especially inspiring).
English names used
The original Russian name for this composers' retreat is Russian: Дом творчества композиторов (sometimes simply abbreviated as Russian: Иваново ДТК (Ivanovo DTK)). A literal translation would be "House Creativity Composers". In English documents (books and articles) it has been translated variously as:
- The Composers' House in Ivanovo
- The House of Composers in Ivanovo
- The House of Creativity in Ivanovo
- The Creativity House of Composers in Ivanovo
- The Composers' House of Creativity in Ivanovo
- The Creative House for Composers in Ivanovo
where the word "Composers" is sometimes replaced by "Musicians", "House" by "Home", "Retreat" or "Resort" and where "in Ivanovo" can become "near Ivanovo" or even "near the town of Ivanovo".
An important source for the information below, especially the names of composers who came after World War II to Ivanovo, comes from the introductory text inside a booklet about a festival held in 1997. The text (in Russian ) is by Remy Iosifovna Petrushanskaya, a well-known musicologist, journalist and, from 1973, a member of (as a musicologist) and an administrator at the USSR Union of Composers. This rare material has never been published in English before.
The Composers' House in Ivanovo, also often simply referred to by musicians as “Ivanovo”, was created in 1943, in the midst of World War II. It was the USSR Union of Composers and its organizing committee led by Reinhold Glière that set as its goal to help composers during these difficult years and to give them the opportunity to continue to do creative work while ensuring basic living conditions, at least during the summer months. Aram Khachaturian, as vice-chairman of the Composer’s Union organizing committee, was also actively involved in the creation and organisation of the Composers' House in Ivanovo; he felt that it was his duty to give back to the society that had so prodigiously recognized his talents.
Invited composers lived in separate, comfortable, one or two bedroom country cottages (dacha in Russian), each fully equipped with modern amenities (water, electricity). At evening, after dinner, everyone gathered in the biggest dacha to listen and discuss new music. Leisure time was spent with impromptu concerts, walking, discussing, collecting mushrooms, playing volleyball, playing charades and so on.
During and after World War II The House of Creativity continued to serve as a favorite place to work and to rest for several generations of composers and musicologists. Sergei Prokofiev spent there the summers of 1944 and 1945, met and became friends with R. Glière, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Vano I. Muradeli, Y.A. Shaporin and their families. Khachaturian was also there in the summer of 1943 and met with most of them. Myaskovsky spent almost one year during that period. N. Peyko, A. Eshpai, B. Tchaikovsky and many others also spent a significant amount of time in Ivanovo. Many of the dachas included a grand piano and some of them were used by the great masters themselves.
Famous works composed in Ivanovo
- Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 in C minor (Opus 65) was written between July 2 and September 9, 1943  after the Battle of Stalingrad and his String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68, was composed in 1944 in just nineteen days
- Prokofiev’s Eighth Piano Sonata and Symphony No. 5
- Khachaturian’s Symphony No. 2 (nicknamed the Symphony with Bells by G. Kubov)
- and several other outstanding pieces of music.
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev and his wife Mira Aleksandrovna Mendel'son-Prokofieva spent about three months at Ivanovo during the summers of 1944 and 1945 to escape the constraints of wartime Moscow. In 1944 they were there from June 9 and left on August 27 back to Moscow by train. In 1945 they were there from around June 20 until October when they hurried back to Moscow because of the imminent premiere of his ballet Cinderella.
In a letter to his wife's mother he wrote about how big their room was and how he was "totally delighted by the place", especially the birch forest and its flowers which was thereafter nicknamed "Prokofiev's forest" by other composers. Prokofiev himself nicknamed the retreat the "State Chicken Farm" or the "State Pig Farm" is his letters to friends because of the livestock still living on the grounds at the time and the renovated farm buildings in which most of the composers lived. Shostakovich for example lived in what used to be a henhouse.
Creative workshops for young promising composers, an idea attributed to Professor V. Vinogradov (musicologist) of the Moscow Conservatory, were organised in the Creative House from 1954. The first head of the workshops was I. Belorusets. In subsequent years the workshops were directed by such great musicians and teachers as N.A.Timofeev, N. Ivanov-Radkevich, S. Ryauzov, G. Frid, Y. Kreyn, N. Peyko, and R. Bunin. An invaluable contributor to the operation and development of the workshops has been Professor Yuri A. Fortunatov of the Moscow Conservatory. Since 1955 he had been a regular consultant of the so-called "Ivanovo Academy".
Workshops participants met with a composer-consultant-mentor at least twice weekly. After finishing the piece he/she was working on, each composer showed it to other colleagues. Sergey Berinsky later added to this tradition that each mentor-composer should also present his/her new piece for discussion by everyone. This created a very democratic, friendly, warm, liberating, inspiring and musically constructive atmosphere in Ivanovo.
During that period one of the most active, devoted and enthusiast supporter of the workshops in Ivanovo was S. Berinsky. His work with young composers is legendary. Under his leadership were organised the Festival “Creative Workshop” and the “Club of Sergey Berinsky” where many pieces by young composers and workshop participants were premiered. After his untimely death in 1998 former Ivanovo alumna Marina Shmotova continued to organize these activities in memory of her mentor and long-time friend.
Among the composers participating in these workshops were T. Shkerbina, E. Lebedeva, L. Rodionova, T. Gordeeva, O. Paiberdin, S. Patromansky, O. Zarodnuk, B. Dondokov, A. Pavluchuk, A. Zelensky, N. Miroshnichenko, L. Terskaya, M. Shmotova, B. Filanovsky, D. Yanov-Yanovsky (Uzbekistan), V. Abaeva (Turkmenistan), G. Grigorjeva (Estonia), M. Gribinchik, R. Kronlaks (Latvia), A. Gavrilets (Ukraine) and many others.
For a very personal, intimate look at the typical daily life of a composer residing in Ivanovo the reader is referred to Berinsky's My Ivanovo (in Russian).
The workshops at the Creative House were fertile ground for the development of new musical ideas by composers such as E. Rakhmadiyev, B. Yampilov, O. Krasotov, A. Melikov, A. Rzaev, P. Rivilis, V. Tormis, S. Cortes, D. Smolsky, D. Saidaminova, S. Belimov, A. Terterian, S. Berinsky, V. Lobanov, A. Luppov, A. Boyarsky and others. Many of them, taking over the baton from the older masters, became themselves consultants for the Ivanovo workshops.
After the collapse of the USSR in 1991 the Union of Composers of Russia took over the responsibility of the Creative House for Composers in Ivanovo. The Union, through its Music Foundation, is also responsible for the preservation of the extensive collection of workshop material, scores and audio recordings of composers from all over the world.
- http://slovariki.org/bolsaa-biograficeskaa-enciklopedia/102772 (in Russian)
- Petrushanskaya, Remy Iosifovna (September 1997). Festival "Creative Workshop" (booklet extract)
|url=(help) (in Russian). Moscow, Russia: Union of Composers of Russia. pp. 1–2. Scanned copy
- Prokofiev, Sergey (1960). Autobiography, articles, reminiscences. Honolulu, Ha: University Press of the Pacific. pp. 190–199. ISBN 9780898751499.
- Tomoff, Kiril (2006). Creative union : the professional organization of Soviet composers, 1939-1953. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801444111.
- Tassie, Gregor (2014). Nikolay Myaskovsky : the conscience of Russian music. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN 9781442231337.
- Shostakovich, Dmitri (2005). Dmitri Shostakovich: Annotated List of Works and Publications. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlage. p. 87. ISBN 978-3935196604.
- http://coollib.com/b/235425/read (in Russian)
- Brown, David (1986). The New Grove Russian Masters. New York: W.W. Norton. p. 155. ISBN 978-0393301038.
- "Symphony No. 2 in a minor… | Details".
- "Mendelson (Prokof'yeva), Mira Alexandrovna : Oxford Music Online - oi".
- "Prokofiev's Fifth, pointing 'the way to a radiant future' - CSO Sounds & Stories".
- Morrison, Simon (2009). The people's artist: Prokofiev's Soviet years. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 248, 258. ISBN 9780199720514.
- http://www.berinsky-club.sdelan.ru/ (in Russian)
- http://www.berinsky-club.sdelan.ru/pressa/7.php (in Russian)