Maestro Veronika Dudarova
(1916- January 15, 2009)
People Artist of the USSR, Russia, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Udmurtia.
Russia’s State Prize Winner, North Ossetian State K.Khetagurov’s Prize winner.
Honored with three Soviet and Russian State orders and many other awards.
As the only lady-conductor in the world, who has been working for more than 50 years, she is included in Guinness Book of World Records. Besides that one of the small planets was named in her honor.
The name of Veronica Dudarova, a laureate of State Russian Musical Award and an academician of International Art Academy, is very famous not only in Russia but all over the world. Being an extraordinary talented and erudite person, Veronica Dudarova has a bright creative individuality and mastery.
She performs lots of tours in different countries of the world and she always is a success. There were tours to the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Japan, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Cuba, which were widely illustrated by the mass media. The concerts of Veronica Dudarova are held worldwide at the best Music-halls and always are a success. Musical critics outline her charm, which makes any musical composition, conducted by Veronica Dudarova, speak perfect and genuinely. But this is quite nicely combined with an extraordinary powerful and imperative message which shapes the many-sided orchestra into a unique musical entity. In Belgrade, a musical critic of the “Politic Express” newspaper wrote: “Veronica Dudarova is the only conductor equally mastering the power, meaning and sound of a composition.
She is uncompromising and persevering to gain her own vision of composition. Veronica combines the best features of a musician, artist and master of sound.” The musical critic of a Dutch newspaper pointed out: “Dudarova and her ability to transliterate the psychology of music made the voice of the orchestra visible. Seeing Dudarova conducting, one may think she has a choreographic background – her motion is so soft and expressive. In Barcelona, critic’s words were: “The concert achieved its brightness not only for the expressiveness and tension but because, above all, there was a magic and dazzling atmosphere – a symbol of the brilliant performance, harmony and beauty.” A Mexican newspaper exclaimed: “We admire this outstanding conductor who is remarkable for her simultaneously intense, fiery and intellectual music interpretation.” Veronica masters the orchestra and is able to transmit her innermost thoughts to each musician of the orchestra. Veronica Dudarova’s repertoire is enormous. It practically includes all the styles and trends of musical literature.
She is a brilliant interpreter of classic music of the past, but as well of the XX century music. One more peculiarity of Veronica Dudarova and her orchestra is the attention to young and gifted musicians taking part in joined concerts with the orchestra. The main part of musicians of the orchestra consists of young people, and the conductor does not avoid working with them but gives them authentic lessons of orchestral acting. Veronica Dudarova is not only an inborn gifted conductor but an interesting creative person who combines human, musical and artistic skills. This allows her understand and interpret scores of any semantic and style difficulty.
Veronika Dudarova, who has died aged 92, was probably the first female Russian conductor to reach the top of her profession; she was associated with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra from 1947 until 1989, and after the fall of Communism she established the Symphony Orchestra of Russia, with which she remained until the end of her life.
Dudarova had the dubious distinction of conducting the first performance of Bread and Songs, a musical setting of President Brezhnev's memoirs. The president's reminiscences, about directing agricultural developments in 1950s Kazakhstan, were set to music by Gaziza Zhubanova and premiered at the Sixth Congress of Soviet Composers in November 1979. In London, The Times noted that the Moscow critics were deeply impressed, adding: "It is expected that the work will be performed again soon, and often."
Like most Soviet conductors who were loyal to the system, Dudarova championed "safe" Russian composers – Tchaikovsky, Miakovsky, Glazunov, Liadov and Khatchaturian – releasing a number of recordings on the official Melodiya label.
She was not, however, averse to the music of Shostakovich, for example in 1983 performing his Tenth Symphony and First Piano Concerto with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and the pianist Alexander Slobodnyak.
Veronika Dudarova was born in Baku, Azerbijan, on December 5 1916, and studied piano in Leningrad with Pavel Serebryakov, the renowned Rachmaninov interpreter. At the Moscow Conservatoire she took conducting lessons with Nikolai Anosov and studied musicology with Lev Ginzburg. She also took lessons from Stefan Strasse, the Austrian conductor, whom she credited with showing her how to survive in what was – and remains – very much a man's world. After 12 years with Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, in 1960 she was appointed chief conductor and artistic director.
In 1977, at the height of the Cold War, Dudarova was dammed with faint praise by The Washington Post for her recording of Tchaikovsky's Fatum. The paper noted that she "seems to be a very competent conductor, if one with an extremely relaxed approach to music whose essential ingredient is dramatic excitement".
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to economic freedoms in music, as in so many other fields. Just as Mikhail Pletnev had founded his Russian National Orchestra, so Dudarova created the Symphony Orchestra of Russia, bringing together several prize-winning soloists and orchestral players from across the country.
Her international tours took her within the Soviet Union's arc of influence and beyond, to countries such as Japan, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and Central and South America. A Dutch critic wrote of "her ability to transliterate the psychology of music", while in Barcelona another reviewer said of her performance that "above all, there was a magic and dazzling atmosphere – a symbol of the brilliant performance, harmony and beauty". At the age of 85 she conducted Tchaikovsky's Pathétique in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.
Possessing the novelty of being a female conductor, Dudarova appeared in a number of Russian films. She was also featured in Dirigenterna: A Woman is a Risky Bet (1987), by the Swedish director Christina Olofson, about women who share a passion to reach the top in orchestral music. She was reputed to be a strict taskmaster but, as she explained: "A conductor must have a tough temperament. Especially for a woman conductor, it is a way to earn your prestige from the orchestra."
A cosmic rock formation was named after her in 1999. Although her astronomic namesake was barely 7.5km in diameter, the conductor declared herself delighted. "Having a planet named after you is the best honour that could be bestowed upon anyone," she said. She received numerous Soviet honours, including People's Artist of the USSR.
Veronika Dudarova's 90th birthday was marked with a concert in Moscow, at which she celebrated by conducting Ravel's Bolero. She died on January 15.