Meet the Composer: Victoria Borisova-Ollas

Meet the Composer: Victoria Borisova-Ollas

Composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas' music has been performed all around the world but is brand new to the Minnesota Orchestra. Where does her inspiration come from, and what should we listen for as we experience The Kingdom of Silence at Orchestra Hall on May 30 and 31


How do you encourage listeners to approach a new piece of music?
Try to listen to it at least twice. We love the classics not only because they are all perfectly-written and beautiful music, but because we got used to them by listening to the same pieces over and over again.

Tell us briefly about The Kingdom of Silence and what to listen for in these concerts.
The program note for this composition follows:

The mysterious country where we all should go to after our lifetime has many different names; The Kingdom of Silence is one of them.

The composition starts as a lullaby where glockenspiel and celesta play a rather simple melody, wrapped in the "echo" of string instruments. Gradually we are sinking into a dream. Different scenes are appearing in a succession, sometimes linked to each other by the same tempi or divided by the sudden change of mood. With the return of the "lullaby," a long chain of events is finished. But the dream itself—does it ever end?

The Kingdom of Silence is written in memoriam of Nikolai Korndorf (1947-2001), an extraordinary personality among his generation of Russian composers.

I advise listeners to keep this in mind and listen to the story my music tells you.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration in literature and art. Some of my compositions’ titles come from the Bible.

Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband Dan Erik Ollas.

What is your favorite type of ensemble to compose for?
Symphony orchestra.

If you could have lunch with any other living composer or performer, who would you choose?
Leonid Desyatnikov, an excellent Russian composer living in St. Petersburg. I am really looking forward to our lunch next year because he is the only person among my colleagues with whom I can discuss thousands of other things besides recent music matters.

Do you have any exciting upcoming or recent projects you’d like to share with our audiences?
My concerto for cello and orchestra, Oh Giselle, remember me..., which was written for Truls M ørk, is having its premiere this fall. I am also working on the score for a concerto for violin and orchestra for Baiba Skride. The preliminary title for that work is A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake. Both compositions are inspired by the two greatest ballet stories in the music history, Giselle and Swan Lake.

Do you have any connections to Minnesota?
Well, my husband is Swedish. Some members of his family on both mother’s and father’s side emigrated to the U.S. at some point when lots of Swedes moved abroad looking for new farming areas with better agricultural conditions than in Sweden. Many of them went to Minnesota and Canada. There might be some distant cousins in your state. Who knows? The world is a small place!


Details about Minnesota Orchestra's performances of The Kingdom of Silence >>

More about composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas >>


Minnesota Orchestra Staff