Krylov’s violin romance

Acclaimed violinist Sergei Krylov adds another string to his bow, as he performs with the Ra’anana Symphonette this week.

Sergei Krylov 370 (photo credit: courtesy/PR)
Sergei Krylov 370
(photo credit: courtesy/PR)
While some youngsters tend to rebel against the idea of joining the family business, or following in their parents’ footsteps, Sergei Krylov was happy to do so. By all accounts it has proven a smart move and, today, the 42-year-old Russian-born classical violinist and conductor is one of the most sought after members of his profession.
Later this week, Krylov will demonstrate to local audiences just how far he has taken his craft when he joins forces with the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra for three concerts at the Municipal Center for Music and Art in Ra’anana (October 31, November 1 and November 3, all at 8:30 p.m.).
Actually, no one really consulted Krylov regarding what he wanted to do when he embarked on his musical path.
“I was five years old and my mother was a pianist and my father was a violinist and violin maker. I used to practice with my mother five to six hours a day, every single day,” he recalls.
Does he rue his “lost” days of childhood? “Look, if you wanted to make progress in the Soviet Union, with the violin, you had to be serious, otherwise you wouldn’t get anywhere. That’s the Russian way.”
Still, any impression that Krylov bemoans his lack of freedom of choice as a kid would be misleading and, in Krylov’s case, there was at least one very tangible fringe benefit to be had.
“It is very important to come from a musical family. My father actually made a violin for me in 1994, and I will probably bring that one with me to Israel, to play.”
Once he laid his infant fingers on the instrument, Krylov made rapid progress on the violin. Just one year later he gave his first public recital, and when he was 10 he soloed with an orchestra and soon hit the overseas trail, appearing in China, Poland, Finland and Germany within a short space of time. His TV debut came at 16, when he played and recorded Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5.
Soon after that, Krylov and his parents managed to get out of the USSR and settled in Cremona in northern Italy. At least in sense, it was a natural transition – provided they could find their way to the other side of the Iron Curtain in one piece – as the Italian city is famous for its musical instrument building tradition, and Krylov Sr. soon found his place there. Krylov has been a resident of Italy ever since.
When he was still in his late twenties Krylov made a very important contact; Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, considered by many to the finest classical cellist of the second half of the 20th century.
“Meeting him was the greatest experience of my musical life,” declares Krylov. “He came to see me perform and we started a relationship which was wonderful. It was a duet with a pianist, in honor of the then 75-year-old Rostropovich because he had been given honorary citizenship of Cremona.”
The cellist was evidently impressed with what he’d heard from the young violinist. “He spoke to me after the concert and asked for my phone number, and a few weeks later he called me.”
That was in 2002, five years before Rostropovich died, and the two had many opportunities to work and play together.
It was quite a boon for Krylov. Not only did he gain firsthand insight into the cellist’s technique and wealth of performing experience, it also gave him a direct link to some of the greatest figures of the classical music world of the first half of the 20th century.
“I loved playing Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Shostakovich, and Rostropovich actually knew Shostakovich well, they were good friends. He was also a friend of Prokofiev. I got information about Shostakovich, and the way he thought about music, directly. That was very special.”
It was also a unique experience for Krylov to join forces with Rostropovich.
“He has such amazing energy, and I am sure anyone who met him, or played with him, would say the same thing,” Krylov continues. “I feel much richer in my music, and as a person, because of that experience.”
Krylov was also born in the right place at the right time. Despite the strictures on all sorts of personal freedoms exerted by the Communist regime in the USSR, culture and the arts were very well supported by the state. It was often easier and cheaper to get a ticket for a classical concert or ballet show than to find fresh food at the local grocery store.
“I would say I am part of the last generation of Soviet musicians,” notes the violinist. “The musicians who followed me in Russia had to come up in a completely different world. Yes, in that respect, I was lucky.”
Krylov has made the most of his good fortune and has developed an impressive career, appearing with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, such as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Camerata Academica Salzburg, and with such stellar conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nicola Luisotti, George Pehlivanian and Jutaka Sado. His many international duties include the position of artistic director with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra.
Krylov will conduct and play a program of largely romantic works with the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra this week, including Schubert’s Rondo in A major for Violin and String Orchestra, and his Symphony No. 8 – The Unfinished Symphony – Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A major for violin and orchestra, and Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs).

For tickets and more information: (09) 745-7773 and