Krasnodar, 4 June. 6+
Our today’s interviewee is Veronika Zhuravleva-Ponomarenko, People’s Artist of Russia, Art Director of the Ponomarenko Krasnodar Philharmonic Society.
Q.: How did you meet your husband [Grigori Ponomarenko, a famous Kuban composer]?
A.: I met him when I was 19. She arrived at the Kuban region in 1973 by invitation of Grigori Zolotukhin, First Secretary of the Krasnodar Regional Party Committee. He already was a very popular and nationally renowned composer, an Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, and was awarded with medals ‘For Defence of Moscow’ and ‘For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.’ His songs were sung by all famous singers of the time: Ludmila Zykina, Iosif Kobzon, Lev Leshchenko, and others. At that time, I was singing in the Kuban Cossack Choir, and when I entered the concert hall he looked at me and asked my name – that’s how we met.
Q.: Grigori Ponomarenko is the author of many songs that are deservedly considered folk songs. Who instilled love for music in him?
A.: He was born on February 2, 1921 in a peasant family from Morovsk, Chernihiv oblast, Ukraine. His parents were far from music, and it was a mere chance or his fate that turned the boy into a genuine musician. At the age of five, the future composer was introduced to the accordion. His uncle, a collector of folk instruments and an accordion maker, was his first teacher of music. Several years later, when his family moved to Zaporizhia, he began to take lessons from a professional accordionist, and at the age of 12 he started out as a composer by writing music for the local amateur theatre.
Q.: When he lived in the Kuban region, he took up Cossack themes. Why was it so important?
A.: As an ‘intersection of cultures,’ our region represents the variety and richness of the cultural and historical legacy. Traditions, dances, music and costumes of various ethnic groups living in the Kuban region influenced one another; the styles and traditions mixed – this was how a unique canvas of Kuban genuineness was forming. Grigori Ponomarenko was feeling this uniqueness, and he managed to reflect it in his pieces. His artistic life in the Kuban region was extremely fruitful.
Q.: How did the Philharmonic Society survive the current pandemic?
A.: We had to redirect our activities and get fully involved in online translations. In social networks, we found our new audience – we got fans from other cities, many of whom are now coming to Krasnodar to attend our live concerts. In 2020, we held 151 online translations; 426,000 spectators watched them. In 2021, we ran 33 online translations for about 83,000 spectators.
Q.: How do you manage to have time to do everything in your tough schedule?
A.: I believe that a person must live every day in love and kindness. People must not accumulate spite and offence in their hearts; they must not take revenge and get angry with others – what they must do is give happiness to other people – this is my secret of energy and good mood. My schedule has for a long time been the same – it is a lot of work, and nothing more.
Follow our news on Facebook