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David Fyodorovich (brief biography)

People’s Artist of Russia, two-time winner of the Russian Federation National Award, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation


David Tukhmanov was born on July 20th, 1940, in Moscow. His father, Fyodor Davidovich Tukhmanov (1903), was an engineer, and his mother, Vera Anatolyevna Karasyova (1903), was a music teacher and composer. 


David Tukhmanov took to music at an early age, and it was his mother who gave him his first piano lessons. He then entered the Moscow Gnessin School of Music where he continued to study piano. His first teacher there was Elena Efrussi.


Elena Fabianovna Gnessina, an eminent Russian and Soviet composer and music educator, encouraged David to maintain his interest in composition, and she had a significant influence on his choice of professional pursuit. His first compositions were pieces for piano and vocal works, romances and ballads. In his seventh year at the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, he devoted himself entirely to composition and the theory of music. His tutor was Lev Nikolayevich Naumov, a renowned pianist, composer and educator.


In 1958, after graduating from the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, David Tukhmanov continued his studies at the composition faculty of the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where his teachers were F.E. Vitachek and later A. Chugaev. He graduated from the Academy in 1963.


His graduation compositions were Za dalyu ‒ dal (A Dale Beyond the Dales' Bounds), an oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra based on fragments from the epic poem of the same name by Alexandr Tvardovsky, and a cycle of ballads and romances to Heinrich Heine's verses in Russian translation. Alexandr Gradsky was the first to perform these ballads and romances. After graduation, David Tukhmanov was called up for military service, and he served in the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Moscow Military District, where he led an orchestra.


The composer started writing songs in the 1960s, and his compositions were performed on stage and played on the radio. He became popular with his hits Poslednyaya e'lektrichka (The Last Commuter Train), Ya lyublyu tebya, Rossiya (I Love You, Russia), Kak prekrasen e'tot mir (How Wonderful This World Is), Hutsulochka (A Hutsul Girl), and others. In 1972, the composer was awarded the Moscow Young Communist League Prize for his songs celebrating devotion to the motherland and patriotism – Den’ bez vystrela (A Day When the Fire Arms Are Silent), My bolshaya semya (We Are a Big Family), Ja ljublju tebya, Rossiya (I Love You, Russia), and others.


In the 1970s, Tukhmanov continued to compose songs that gained nation-wide popularity –Vechnaya vesna (Eternal Spring), Nashi lyubimy`e (Those Who We Love), Vostochnaya pesnya (Oriental Song), Bely`j tanec (White Dance), Prityazhenie zemli (Attraction of the Earth), Solov`inaya roshha (Nightingale Grove), Rodina moya (My Homeland), E’hti glaza naprotiv (Beholding Eyes), Moi adres Sovetski Soyuz (My Address is the Soviet Union), Nenaglyadnaya storono (My Precious Land), and many others. These songs were performed by music celebrities and aspiring young singers who were just embarking on their artistic careers. David Tukhmanov devoted a great deal of time and attention to these performers, fostering their talents, placing his hope for their successful artistic future and sharing their first trials and tribulations. Among those young performers were V. Obodzinsky, N. Brodskaya, L. Leshchenko, V. Leontiev and A. Barykin.

In 1973, David Tuchmanov recorded his debut long-play album Kak prekrasen e'tot mir (How Wonderful This World is), a pilot collection of vocal compositions performed by A. Gradsky, L. Bergher, N. Brodskaya, Y. Antonov, G. Nenasheva, and other young singers.


Two years later, David Tuchmanov released his Po volne moyei pamyati (On the Wave of My Memory) album featuring the voices of the hitherto unknown young singers. The compositions are based on poems by canonical authors. It was an album that to the full extent brought to life the concept of an album-suite using musical means that were path-breaking for its time.


In 1977, David Tuchmanov won the Lenin Young Communist League Prize awarded for his song Den` Pobedy (Victory Day) and Voenny`e pesni (War Songs) cycle to the lyrics by Vladimir Kharitonov. In 1980, the composer was honoured with the Order of Friendship of Peoples. In 1983, he was awarded the title Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation.


In the 1980s, David Tukhmanov continued to write songs for well-known performers like I. Kobzon, S. Rotaru, V. Leontyev, L. Senchina, J. Joala, S. Zakharov, and other popular singers and bands like Vesyolye rebyata (Jolly Fellows) and Samotsvety (Jem-Stones). He released his hits Dadim shar zemnoy detyam (Give the Globe to the Children), Olimpiada-80 (Olympics-80), Aist na kry’she (Stroke on the Roof), Chisty’e prudy (Clear Ponds), Naprasny’e slova (Vain Words), Koni v yablokakh (Dappled Horses), etc. To record his NLO (UFO) album, David Tukhmanov organises his Moskva band with Nikolai Noskov as soloist. In late 1980s, the composer leads the popular Electroclub band including vocalists I. Allegrova, I. Talkov, and later V. Saltykov.


In 1989, David Tukhmanov, in collaboration with Yuri Entin, poet and author of books for children, wrote The Baghdad Thief musical which premiered in 1990 at the Satirikon Theatre in Moscow and the Musical Comedy Theatre in Sverdlovsk.


In 1995, after a time-out associated with his stay in Germany, David Tukhmanov eagerly embarked on musical projects for children, creating a repertoire for children ensembles, choirs, and theatre shows. In collaboration with Yuri Entin, he wrote the song cycles Zolotaya gorka (Golden Hill), O mnogikh shestinogikh (About Many Six-Legged Creatures), Byaki-Buki (Bugaboos and Bugbears), Uzhastik-Park (Horror Park), Gogol-Mogol-Disco-Club, Igra v klassiki (Playing Hopscotch) released as scores, CDs and audiocassettes. He also wrote the signature tune for the Goldfish children festival of cartoon films.


In 1998, David Tukhmanov was invited to write and orchestrate the music settings for the Youth Olympic Games in Moscow. A similar project was accomplished in June 2002. In 2000, the composer celebrated his 60th birthday by staging gala concerts at the Rossiya State Central Concert Hall in Moscow with the participation of top music artists. In the same year, he was awarded the title People's Artist of Russia and received the Medal of Honour awarded by the Russian National Public Recognition Foundation. In June 2003, the composer won the Russian Federation State Prize honouring his concert activities.


The production of the theatre play Take It Easy, Madeleine received its premiere in the autumn of 2001. The music was composed by David Tukhmanov especially for the one and only Lyudmila Gurchenko. A brilliant movie actress, she was the female lead of the play. In June 2003, Moscow’s Satire Theatre premiered Run for Your Wife, a comedy play by Ray Cooney. The music for the play stage production was written by David Tukhmanov.


In 2002, to celebrate the Day of Slavonic Script and Culture in Novosibirsk, David Tukhmanov wrote The Legend of Yermak oratorio for chorus, soloists and orchestra. David Tukhmanov composed the music settings for Russia's Independence Day celebrations at the Red Square in Moscow in 2003 and 2004.


The composer’s chamber music output includes cycles of ballads and romances, among them Kvadratny`e okoshki (Square Windows) to poems by Innokenty Annensky, Son Sebastiana (Sebastian in a Dream) to poems by Austrian poet Georg Trakl, the music poem Svyataya noch` (The Holy Night) for violin and orchestra, and the music poetic composition Boris Poplavsky's Tango of Dream.


In 2004, the concert hall of the State Kremlin Palace hosted the composer's gala concerts The Attraction of Love. At the end of 2005, David Tukhmanov completed his work on the opera Catherine the Great (libretto by Yu. Ryashentsev and G. Polidi). The opera was staged under the title Tsaritsa by Dmitry Bertman, founder and artistic director of the Helikon Opera House in Moscow. In 2009, the production premiered in St. Petersburg, Moscow and many other cities of Russia and was given a rousing welcome.


In June 2010, as part of the New Wave music festival in Jurmala (Latvia), the composer gave his jubilee gala concert with the participation of Russia’s top singers and bands, where the composer appeared on the concert stage as a performer.


Pushkiniana appears soon afterwards – a cycle of songs and ballads based on poems by the great Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, written for friends of the composer, V. Smekhov and O. Mityaev (the first to perform the work). It is interesting that one of the compositions in the suite, based on Aleksandr Pushkin’s well-known poem Muses, was performed in the very same Imperial Lyceum hall where the poet studied and recited his verses to Gavrila Derzhavin, Russia’s literary grand of unchallenged poetic authority.


In later years, the composer continued his music theatre pursuits. The Joseph and Brothers opera-musical was inspired by the well-known biblical story, and the score was completed in 2018.


In 2020, David Fyodorovich Tukhmanov was awarded the Russian Federation State Prize for Humanitarian Efforts.

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