Life and Career

I was born on August 6, 1976, on the Volga river, in the capital of the Soviet automobile industry, the city of Togliatti. I obeyed my mother. I went to kindergarten. I was taught to read Russian fairytales when I was 3.

When I was 5, my family moved to Tashkent, where we lived in a military camp of the Turkestan military district during the war in Afghanistan. I started school there. When I was 8, I also started attending the music school to receive a formal classic music education, including solfeggio, piano lessons, music history, choir. It was no nonsense, as you see.

My mother, Lidiya Mikhailovna, taught Russian as a second language to foreign students. Together with my music teacher, a multi-instrumentalist Olga Davydovna, they organized a folk instruments ensemble for students from such countries as Congo, Algeria, Laos, Kampuchea. I sang traditional Russian folk songs with them, alternated with songs of students from other countries. It was then that I absorbed all the diversity of the world’s folklore and extended boundaries of my experiments in singing.

When I returned to Togliatti in 1987, I began practicing in a folk choir Zhiguli. I was also a soloist in a Russian folk instruments orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Chilikin. 

In 1993 I graduated from school and went to study at the Gnesins Music Pedagogical College. I moved to Moscow. My career as a professional singer began. The first record in my employment record book reads: “Performing artist in the ensemble of the State folklore center Russkaya pesnya, conducted by Nadezhda Babkina”. At the same time I worked in a singing concert troupe under the Head Department of the Penitentiary, touring the vast spaces of our unencompassable Motherland.

In 1994 I was a soloist in a student ensemble Zlataya Rus.  The first recordings that we did were on tape, at the Audio Engineering Department of the Gnesins Academy. Our sound engineer was also a student of the Academy, her name was Yana.

In 1996, after having received an external degree at the College, I went on to study at the Russian Gnesins Academy of Music, at Solo Folk Singing Department. I was a soloist in the Veles ensemble, became an International Opera Singers Contest of Galina Vishnevskaya Prize winner.

In the same year I became a soloist singer in a Gusli Players Ensemble Svetoch, which was one of the kind in Russia at that time because of the lineup of musicians (gusli is a Russian multi-string plucked instrument).

I’ve been touring Europe since 2000: Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary. I’ve been taking part in festivals, international contests, and artistic experiments.

In 2001 I bought the Svetoch ensemble from its previous owner and became its artistic director.

In 2001 I compiled an archive of the Svetoch ensemble work over the period of 10 years. I did mixing and mastering and released an album called Gusli Players Ensemble Svetoch, which contained instrumentals and songs with various singers throughout the ensemble history.

In 2002 I graduated from the Russian Gnesins Academy of Music.

In 2003 I released the album Svetoch, which contained instrumentals by the Svetoch ensemble.

In 2004 I released the album Olga Kozlova and the Gusli Players Ensemble Svetoch.

Since 2007 I’ve worked on a club dance music project. The music here is based on traditional Russian folk songs and retro music. I mix styles, genres, and enjoy experimenting…

Since 2008 I’ve been involved in teaching.

In 2009 I recorded a song for the Prefecture of the East Administrative Okrug of Moscow at the Autoradio radio station. 

Since 2010 I’ve been recording a new experimental album of club remixes.

Since 2011 I’ve worked on a program of spiritual poems accompanied by organ.

Year 2012. At present I do a lot of creative work together with fascinating musicians and composers in Europe. I continue to tour with various programs and pass the art of folk singing on to the next generation.