Krasnodar, 28 March – Yug Times. On 22 March, Viktor Zakharcheko, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kuban Cossack Choir, People’s Artist of Russia, turned eighty. On the eve of his glorious jubilee, Maestro Zakharchenko shared some little-known facts of his life with our readers.
Q.: When did you understand that the cultural heritage of the Kuban Cossacks is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for a contemporary musician and composer?
A.: My childhood fell on the postwar years. It was a difficult period for the entire country as well as for my homeland. There was not light or water supply in my native village; which was a place of ruins and misery. However, the villagers would sing folk songs all the time - to spite all those hardships. This was how I grew up surrounded by folk music. I did not even have to memorize it - I was just absorbing it, that’s it.
The village itself has not changed a lot; what has is that there are fewer relatives and classmates alive. But then I go to the cemetery to meet them… Many of my peer group died a long time ago, while I keep on living… Probably because I haven’t yet fulfilled all God wanted me to fulfil.
Q.: You are holder of numerous state decorations and creative prizes. Can you distinguish any of them?
A.: Yes, I have many rewards, but the dearest one is of course the acknowledgement of the leader of our country [the State Prize in Literature and Arts presented by President Putin in 2016]. I consider it as a reward of the entire choir, of which I’m part and parcel. The choir is my cherished child that I connect all my life with.
Q.: Owing to what have you achieved these heights? What was the main factor - hard work, talent, or gift of God?
A.: I have just one answer - it’s gift of God that as I take it was hired out to me, so that I would return it together with the results of my creative work.
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