Vladimir Onufriev, conductor

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Vladimir Onufriev was born on July 20, 1967 in Arkhangelsk.

He began the initial education in music in 1974; 
From 1982 to 1986 Vladimir studied in Yaroslavl Music College, 
from 1986 to 1992 Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) Conservatory, class of professor Margarita Samorukova. 
In 1992 served as assistant to Prof. Israel B. Gusman in the Conservatory’s internship program (continued 2015 as an assistant to prof. Alexander Skulsky).

Conductor Vladimir Onufriev’s creative life has been linked to the Arkhangelsk State Chamber Orchestra. That ensemble, which he has led for over twenty years, became under his baton a particularly notable phenomenon in Russian musical life. The Orchestra, now routinely surprising metropolitan and overseas audiences with its achievements in performance, was created by Onufriev and his collaborators, as they say, from scratch in a city very remote from the centers of Russian musical culture.

As fate would have it, working with a small orchestra became the hallmark of Onufriev’s career. However, his talents, artistic upbringing and education, his broad knowledge of musical forms and his ability as a conductor to breath life into a performance, distinguish Onufriev as a musician whose merits are well-suited to large forms and in larger orchestras.  Among the most inspired and memorable of his performances are the "Manfred Symphony" of Tchaikovsky, Anton Bruckner’s monumental Sixth Symphony, the great Symphony in C Major by Schubert, and others. Not limited to any particular style, he is a conductor equally persuasive in the transparent symphonies of Haydn and in stylistically complex, modern material. Musically "omnivorous" from the beginning, Onufriev has a rare erudition that impresses even the sophisticated listener.

He knows how to work subtly and carefully and enjoys it, paying attention to detail and finishing quickly, with limited rehearsal time.  His record as a conductor includes a unique example: he presented the legendary First Symphony by Alfred Schnittke with only four partial rehearsals. Even today very few conductors would risk their reputation and an ensemble’s on this – not only technically but, above all, stylistically – unprecedentedly difficult task.

Onufriev’s lean, thoughtful, and original interpretations, in fact, are entirely built on the original text.  As a conductor he "resets" the works, relieving them of the weight of tradition, trying to penetrate deep into the composers’ intentions as reflected in the score.

Gifted with a magnetic talent for leadership, on stage he is unusually expressive.  His style as a conductor reveals absolute emotional freedom based on a combination of powerful intellect and a strong will.  Interpretive "minimalism" and technical perfection are not ends in themselves, and he can safely be considered a virtuoso. Maestro Vladimir Onufriev is fully capable of reaching into the heart of the listener, and that is perhaps the most important challenge for any musician.

Review excerpts:

“…It is gratifying that a noble restraint, precise gestures, and lack of affectation characterized the conductor’s manner.  V. Onufriev transmits his "nerve" to the orchestra, achieving teamwork, unity, rigor and emotion.” G. Snitovskaya (Moscow), Pravda Severa, 1993.

 "Onufriev’s accomplishment, first of all, is to reveal a very clear, exceptional giftedness. This man has indeed a musical gift from God, and is most alive when he comes into contact with music.  ….when, renouncing worldly concerns, he enters the musical womb, he is alive in every cell of his being. I think that is his truest essence, which is very valuable. He has a wonderful talent for ensemble, i.e. the ability to understand, cultivate and share the intentions of the soloist. Of course, every conductor must have that, but it is one of the distinctive strokes of Onufriev’s musical portrait.  And he loves to be part of an ensemble, unlike many other conductors.”  Pianist Ruvim Ostrovsky, in a 2004 interview

Performances as visiting conductor:
Nizhnyi Novgorod Academic Symphony Orchestra, 1993, 2004, 2007.  Among the works performed: Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5; Dvorak, New World Symphony.
Volgograd Academic Symphony Orchestra, 2001-2004. Among the works: G. Kancheli, 4th Symphony; A. Schnittke, First Symphony; P. Tchaikovsky, “Manfred” Symphony; S. Rachmaninov, Symphonic Dances.
Krasnoyarsk Academic Symphony Orchestra, 2001, 2004, 2006. A. Bruckner, Sixth Symphony; E. Chausson, Symphony.
Symphonic Orchestra of the Karelian State Philharmonic, 2006.  F. Schubert, “Great” Symphony in C Major.
Kazan State Chamber Orchestra “La Primavera”, 2006, 2007. F. Schubert, C Major Quintet, op. 163; J. Brahms, G Major Quintet, op. 111 (orchestral transcriptions)
“Soloists of Nizhnyi Novgorod” Chamber Orchestra, 2009
Symphony Orchestra of the Tomsk State Philharmonic, 2006
Symphonic Orchestra of the Belgorod State Philharmonic, 2005
Udmurtia State Symphonic Orchestra, Izhevsk, 2004, 2006
Symphony Orchestra of the Irkutsk State Philharmonic, 1999
The SPb Hermitage Orchestra (St.Petersburg-Camerata), 2010
The Yaroslavl Symphony, 2012
The Tambov Symphony, 2013

Concerts in the USA, 2004, and in Italy, 2005, Norway 2008-2012, Poland and Peru 2010



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19.10.2012 | 
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