Yakov Gubanov

Professor
617 747-8121

"The range of my courses goes from core courses—Counterpoint and Harmony—to Advanced Counterpoint, which is fugue, plus several courses which I designed myself, such as Dmitri Shostakovich: His Music and Life. This is an important course for me, because I was the last private student of Shostakovich. It's a very important course for the students because of the music and composition technique, and the historic background of the Soviet Union and the 20th century, which was one of the most dramatic pages in human history."

"I am really enchanted with the sonority of Latin. One day I woke up with the thought that I have to get a Latin Bible. This is how I turned to choral music, to sacred texts. One of those is 'Psalmus XXVII,' which was recently performed by the St. Louis Chamber Chorus. They arranged a concert composed of Russian sacred texts. I was very embarrassed when I saw the program: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Gubanov. Nevertheless my piece was very well received, and the choir is about to record it on a CD."

"Music for silent films is what actually brought me to the United States. I was invited by the Harvard Film Archive to give a guest performance of live improvisation for a silent film festival, and they offered me the position of composer in residence. I have given over 500 live performances for silent films, with written music of mine or improvised music. It's counterpoint: things going together."

"Because Berklee is a very international institution, about one half of my directed studies students are international ones, and I'm always trying to encourage a student to maintain his national tradition. It's a big temptation when a student comes to the United States to try to develop this kind of international idiom which will sound American. I never push, but if you have this feeling of your own tradition, I suggest, just stay with your own tradition. In my opinion the 21st century will be the time when the national tradition of art will be restored. It seems to me the future of music is in the return of each individual to his or her national roots."

Career Highlights
  • Ph.D., music theory, Ukrainian Music Academy / Moscow Conservatory. Doctoral dissertation: "Harmonic Language of D. Shostakovich."
  • M.A., music theory, Moscow Conservatory
  • Performances with the Harvard Film Archive and the National Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra
  • Recordings include Nachtmusik for Oboe, Cello, and Piano and radio programs in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Israel, and the U.S.
  • Musicological articles published in Germany, Russia, and the Ukraine
  • Participant in international music and film festivals, including Weimarer Frujahrstage (Germany), Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (Italy), the Seattle International Film Festival (U.S.), and the International Music Festival (Ukraine)