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 Sergey Kuryokhin

Born:   June, 16th, 1954
Deceased:   July, 9th, 1996

Virtuosi avant-garde musician, jazzman, composer, arranger, actor, the founder and head of group Pop Mechanics.


Sergey Kuryokhin was the first showman of the epoch of 1980s-90s and the most serious musician of the Soviet underground, whose creativity in many respects determined the development of Russian avant-garde music. His amazing technique of playing the keyboard instruments brought about myths. His crazy speed on piano appalled professional musicians and delighted the army of his fans. Thus, when his first CDs appeared in England the musical press declared that Kuryokhins piano record had been speeded up during mixing, because no normal person could play so quickly.

Sergey Anatolievich Kuryokhin was born on June, 16th, 1954 in the city of Murmansk into the family of a military man. He started playing music at the age of four. His childhood and school years passed in Crimea, in Yevpatoriya. In 1971 after finishing school Sergey with his family moved to Leningrad where he entered Musorgsky Musical School at the Leningrad Conservatory. However, he was soon expelled for chronic truancy. Then for a short time he studied at the Choral Conducting Faculty of Culture Institute. Afterwards he worked as a concertmaster for rhythmic gymnastics.

Sergey Kuryokhin started his real music career as a rock pianist; in 1971-1977 he performed with known amateur groups, such as "The Post", "Big iron bell" and "Gulf Stream". Then he developed passion for jazz and joined the quartet (later a trio) of the Leningrad saxophonist Anatoly Vapirov, with whom he appeared at the largest jazz festivals of the country. In the late 1970s Kuryokhin also experimented with various bands of his own.

In the first half of the 1980s Kuryokhin for a while returned to rock music as the arranger of Aquarium band and participated in creation of the bands albums Triangle, Taboo and Radio Africa. In 1984 he founded his own orchestra named Popular Mechanics (Pop Mechanics) which involved members of known rock bands Aquarium, Kino, Igry, Auktsyon, Jungle, Tri-O, and A.Fedko's folklore ensemble. Subsequently Kuryokhin's orchestra toured around nearly entire country and then performed abroad as well.

Pop Mechanics shows that brought together musicians and artists of different schools, chamber and symphonic orchestras, folklore and dance ensembles, rock- and jazz bands, as well as conjurers, mimes and tamers, variety soloists and opera singers (sometimes the number of participants reached 300 persons) had extravagantly scandalous names:"Indian-Gipsy Meditations", "Five Days from Life of Baron Vrangel", "Suvorov's Passage over Kutuzov", and the like.

Besides working with his orchestra, Sergey Kuryokhin performed solo programs of piano improvisations and duets. He has written music to lots of stage plays and films. His discography totals several tens of tape records and CDs.

Sergey Kuryokhin died young of a rare illness - heart sarcoma - on July, 9th, 1996 in St. Petersburg. He was buried at Komarovo Cemetery near St. Petersburg.

The International Musical Festival SKIF (Sergey Kuryokhin International Festival) which is annually held in Petersburg is dedicated to the memory of Sergey Kuryokhin. Besides, Kuryokhin festivals annually take place in Berlin, Amsterdam and New York.

In 2009 the Sergey Kuryokhin Foundation and Center established an annual award in the field of the modern art.


V. Ivanova


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