Vocal Area Network logo VAN Feature

Russian and American Music: Parallels and Crossings
by Kimberly Hiss for Vocal Area Network
Posted March 12, 2006

Composer Sarah DawsonOn March 26 and April 2, the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York will perform its spring 2006 program, which will include the works of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and the premier of a new choral cycle by an American composer. The following interviews with the group's artistic director and conductor Nikolai Kachanov and the new work's composer Sarah Dawson offer a preview of the concert.

PART ONE: The Artistic Director

In the early 1980s, Nikolai Kachanov sat up nights in his tiny Astoria kitchen planning concerts for a chorus that didn't exist yet. He and his wife Tamara and their son Pavel had recently emigrated from the Soviet Union, where his successful career as a choral conductor had been limited by bans on Russian liturgical music. Kachanov set out to rebuild in New York, where he started work in a piano factory, learned English, and sat up nights imagining the concerts he'd give again someday.

Today the Kachanovs are in the midst of their 21st season with the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York--and the program for their upcoming spring concert is far from imaginary. It's a