Creation of music is inscrutable but it is possible to trace the sources which feed the style of creator. The life-giving sources of creative work of Vladislav Uspensky are first of all the values of Orthodox culture which were faithfully preserved in his family and acquired in his childhood.
Born in 1937 in Omsk, the future composer from his childhood sang in church chorus and got the first lessons in music from his first teacher - his mother.
The indomitable wish to create was directed in the right way by a recognized master of music D. Kabalevsky - "god father" of the young musician. During his study in the musical college of the Moscow conservatory Vladislav Uspensky broadened his understanding of music of the XX century under the guidance of an originally thinking pedagogue S. Frid. Years of study at the Leningrad conservatory were years of penetration into the richest spiritual and academic traditions of the city; years of merging in the creative environment of the 60's generation. The young composer associated those years with Mstislav Rostropovich, Eugeny Mravinsky, Michail Waiman, Boris Gutnikov, Josif Brodsky, Michail Shemyakin and Yakov Gordin. An experienced master, B. Arapov, entrusted the secrets of mastery composition to him.
Meeting with D. Shostakovich, who was his preceptor in postgraduate from 1962 till 1965, was decisive in many respects for his life and artistic career. It extended the borders of his world vision; determined the still increasing level of mastery, and finally widened his understanding of human and artistic nature.
Vladislav Uspensky caught the best traits of his teacher - not only as an author and pedagogue but also as an individual. True devotion to his profession, accuracy in words and deeds, particular fineness of personal relations - all these traits acquired from the great master penetrated the flesh and blood of Uspensky's nature, and have been his unshakeable Creed.
As an artist of a really extraordinary talent, Vladislav Uspenskiy masters the widest palette of musical genres - from song to opera, from instrumental miniatures to large symphonic works, from children's incedental music, film music to Divine Liturgy...
All of them are strikingly united, merged and melted in the crucible of the unique style of the master. As a composer of a truly democratic orientation V. Uspensky completely lacks false academic manner and aesthetic" snobbery: unpenetrable borders between "highs and "lows spheres in art, between esoteric and slights entertaining genres (E & U-Musik) do not exist for him. On the contrary, complementing and enriching one another, they give birth to the inimitable manner of the author. Thus, the theatric originality inherent in the talent of V. Uspenskiy penetrated the sphere of symphonic genres (timbre personification, colourful portrait-characters) and variety songs (monoperformance "Expectations on verses of R. Rozhdestvensky). Vocal-variety and symphonic genres are united in the poetic style of the ballet " Cranes flyings; technique and principles of film production (montage, rapid change of tempos) have penetrated the opera "Interventions and the songs of the latter gave rise later to the flashing musical "Scandal in Bohemias...
Paradox is intrinsic not only to the creative work of the composer but also to his own nature. Extrovert and introvert features are combined in him quite remarkably. On the one hand Vladislav Uspensky is a man with an outstanding social temperament, at times absorbed by "cares of the vain worlds, but on the other hand - he is an intellectual person of Chehov's mould with finest emotional constitution. Did not all these bring about his interest in the prose of I. Bunin and exact "psychogramss of woman's soul, widely presented in his works of heartfelt piercing lyricism and all conquering romanticism.
The spiritual moral source in the music of Uspensky deserves special attention. As his great teacher once said "Vladislav Uspensky thoroughly understands the ethical meaning of music creations. High ethical passion is a characteristic of the many deeds - human and creative - of Vladislav Uspenskiy: devoted service to his art, his pupils and colleagues. Special soul magnetism (a trait also inherited from D. Shostakovich), a sense of close link with his contemporaries and predecessors, and a feeling of spiritual debt - is the moral leitmotif of the composer's work. It is not mere chance that the key word in the title of many of his works is ^Dedications in the meaning of "Consecration" ("Con-secrations as touching the sacraments of love, faith, friendship): "Dedications" - an elegiac symphony in memory of his mother, Symphonic poem "Dedication to Courage" in memory of the execution of the Seventh symphony of D. Shostakovich in besieged Leningrad, Songs "Dedication to Friend", "Dedication to Woman".
The composer turned to the religious sacraments in his monumental choral works of the beginning of 90-s: "Vigils" (1990), "Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" (1991), "While the Soul leaves the Body" (Requiem, 1992) in which canonical genres of the orthodox tipicon (ceremonial) are coloured by a brilliant personal intonation of the creator who absorbed the Christian faith with his mother's milk and considers it now as the corner-stone of the being and the eternal engine of true art.
A characteristic feature of the creative work of V. Uspensky is his anxiety for the world's fortune, the immediate response to world's conflicts and problems: the struggle with Fascism and totalitarianism (opera "The War against Salamanders" after Carel Sapek), with predominance of vulgarity of mass culture (the antidote to it in V. Uspensky's works are songs based on pure unturbid sources of folklore and natural live intonation.). The composer's works always bear a store of moral purification, the effect of catharsis. Even dark forces of evil are conquered and transformed by V. Uspensky into positive aesthetic values (finale of the opera "The War against Salamanderss, and final episodes of many symphonic works).
The musical language of Vladislav Uspensky is marked by a striving to combine the traditions of national Russian music with modern rhythms and colours. This makes his music attractive both to professional musicians and amateur music-lovers. The music of the composer has gained the deserved recognition in our country and abroad. His works have been performed by outstanding musicians such as: Boris Gutnikov, Pavel Serebryakov, Arvid Yansons, Irina Bogacheva, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vladislav Chernushenko, Sergey Lejferkus, Philip Khirshkhorn, Maxim Vengerov, Roberto Fabricciani, Volfgang Schtockmayer; by pop singers Editha Pyeha, Josif Kobzon, Valentina Tolkunova, Irina Ponarovskaya, Irina Miroshnichenko and other.
Being in constant quest, Vladislav Uspensky now as always stands on the road to the true self-discovery of his distinctive and versatile talent.
1965-1967 - Class of music theory in Leningrad State Conservatory
1967-1972 - Dean of the musicology faculty in Leningrad State Conservatory
Since 1982 - Professor of composition faculty Leningrad State Conservatory
1995 - Guest composer-in-residence at Seoul University (Korea), master-class
1997 Guest composer-in-residence at Lima University (Peru), master-class
More then 30 pupils - composers, such as: A. Dorokhov, Vice Chair of Belarus Composers' Union; I. Komeliyk, L. Kwint, Ye. Irshai, S. Poddubny, E. Poplianova, I. Chebotariova, I. Blinnikova etc.
Since 1972 - Vice President of the St. Petersburg Composers Union
Since 1996 - Chairman of the Musical Counsil of the Culture Committee of St. Petersburg Government
Since 1972 - Director of the International Festival Musical Spring in St. Petersburg
Since 1995 - General Director of the International Musical Children's Festival
Honorary title and awards
1976 - The Badge of Honour
1980 - Honoured Art Worker of Russia
1988 - The People' s Artist of Russia
1994 - Medal Veteran of Labour
Uspensky's photo album