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Yevgeni Zemtsov




Yevgeni Zemtsov (1940-2016) was born in the town of Rasskasovo, near the old Russian city of Tambov, into a family of workers. His father Nikolai Zemtsov has been killed in a battle in 1944, at the end of the 2nd World War.


If spite of living in extreme poverty with his mother Klavdia and sister Alevtina, Yevgeni has managed starting violin lessons in his native city and later has entered the Music College in Tambov. His exceptional musical talent was noticed quite soon, but after a couple of years he got a serious injury in the left hand because of excessive exercising. He was forced stopping his violin studies and he began studying composition instead. In a couple of years he was accepted in the Musical College by Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.


Yevgeni has graduated with distinction from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1967 where he studied with D. Kabalewski and A. Pirumov. The most significant works composed in the years of conservatory studies are the String Quartet (1962, revised in 2004), the oratory “Flames and Rhythms’’ on the texts of African poets (1967), and the 1stSymphony (1967, revised 2004), the work has been presented at his final exam, getting the highest mark with distinction. 

During his study years in Moscow Yevgeni met the viola player Ludmila Levinson, whom he has married in 1968. Yevgeni has dedicated her the “Melody in the Old Style” for viola and piano, one of the most tender and beautiful pieces he has composed. Yevgeni and Ludmila had four children, all of them became prominent musicians.


Great influence on the music of Y. Zemtsov have made his trips to the villages investigating and collecting the Russian folklore songs and dances. Inspired by the musical material brought from those trips, Yevgeni has composed many arrangements of Russian Songs for choir – Album of 3 cicles of “Russian Songs” (Jurgenson, Moscow, 2012) “Three Russian Songs” (“Sovietsky Kompositor”, Moscow, 1974)


The Russian orthodox choir tradition inspired Yevgeni to compose several sacred choir cycles published in the album of “Chants” including “Tetraptych in memory of S. Rakhmaninov” (“Kompositor”, Moscow, 2015). Later he has composed several sacred pieces influenced by European liturgical traditions - “Ave Maria” for female choir (versions a Capella and with organ) and 2 Madrigals on the lyrics by A. Gromov (1987). 


Another great source of inspiration has been the poetry. Yevgeni knew very well not just Russian poetry, but also was interested in the poetry of other countries, especially Chinese and Japanese one, resulting in the vocal cycles “Meditations” on the texts of Yuan Min and “Five Japanese Songs” on Basho and Oshima.



After finishing the conservartory, Yevgeni was offered a teaching position in the Music College of Ulianovsk, and three years later - in the Institut of Arts in Ufa (Republic of Bashkortostan, Ural Mountains).

The city of Ufa has been an important cultural center with a rich musical life, having a beautiful concert hall, opera theater, very good choir. In this period Yevgeni composes his 2ns Symphony, vocal cycles ‘’Six Strophes on F. Sologub”, “Hiroshima” on lyrics of Nazym Hikmet, “Alone with the Nature” on Hungarian poet S. Petefi, “Autumn Moods” on P. Yavorov, “Six Poems of I. Bunin” for Bariton,“Three Jewish Songs” for soprano and piano,” ”Y. Lermontov Album” and “A. Blok” cycles for choir, “Lyrical poetry by A. Fet” for Bariton, Soprano, flute and string quartet, as well as many of above mentioned choir works.  

In the same period he composes several pieces for Violin and Piano - 2 Sonatas (1st one – in memoriam of S. Prokofiev), Ballada and Dyptich. 


Yevgeni also has composed several piano pieces, and songs for children. His sycle for children choir “Songs and Games” has won the 1st Prize at the Competition for Children Choir Compositions in St – Petersburg. He also composed “Two Russian Songs for Children Choir”.


Yevgeni also has showed interest for the Bashkirian folklore, arranging Four Bashkirian Songs for choir (Bashkirian State Publishing House, 1988), composing Two Bashkirian Pieces for Violin and Piano and Bashkirian Dyptich for String Orchestra (1983, rev. 2005).


Yevgeni Zemtsov became a member of the Union of Composers of the Soviet Union, later getting the title of Composer Emeritus of Russian Federation. From 1987 till 1995 he has teached at the world famous Gnessin Musical-Pedagogical Institute in Moscow.


From 1995 till 2016 Evgeni Zemtsov and his family have moved to Hamburg, Germany. He has become member of the Deutsche Komponisten Verband and GEMA. These years he has mostly dedicated to detailed revision of previously written works and publishing of them.

He has made numerous and brilliant arrangements for different instruments – for string quartet - “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” and Gran Tango (with solo viola or cello) by A. Piazzolla, for piano - "Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorem”" by O. Messiaen (“Kompositor” Moscow, 2008), as well as many orchestrations of miniatures for violin, viola or cello and string orchestra.


In 2006 Yevgeni has become member of the literary association “The Source” (Istotchnik), mostly composed by Russian immigrants, interested in poetry. Yevgeni has published two books with his poems – “Ups and Downs” (2013) and “I’m still at home” (2015) in NG Verlag, Berlin.


His original works and arrangements are regularly performed and broadcasted in Europe, North and Latin America.






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