Borislav Strulev: the surgeon has the scalpel, and my cello

What does a musician after the concert at the Philharmonic plays in the ward of sick children or mine to help beautifully why the hospital should be in the center of Moscow, and successful businessmen to invest in the vanguard of the XXI century? “Pravmir” talks with Borislav Strulev – Russian-American cellist, producer, a Trustee of the charity Foundation for children with cancer “Nastya” at the Institute of pediatric Oncology and Hematology named after N. N. Blokhin.

Borislav Strulev

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Borislav Strulev

Borislav Strulev was born in Moscow into a family of musicians. He graduated from the Central music school at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1992 he became the winner of national contest of young performers, in different cities of the country acted with the composer Tikhon Khrennikov and played his music. After a year I received an invitation to debut at the Kennedy center in Washington from famous musicians – pianist Byron Janis, who had arranged and violinist Isaac stern, and after that – a scholarship to study at the Manhattan music Conservatory.

Since 1994, lives in United States. Advocates with the national orchestras of different countries, in their rooms on the cello mixing classics, Opera, ballet, jazz, tango and even rap. For eight years, Borislav – the music Director of the international festival “BelgorodMusicFest” – “Borislav Strulev and friends” and Trustee of the charity Foundation for children with cancer “Nastya” at the Institute of pediatric Oncology and Hematology named after N. N. Blokhin.

It’s hard to see sick children, but you have to play in kindergarten

– You took dozens of interviews, and only in some of them you say that you are the Trustee of the Fund “Nastya”. Why? They don’t ask you or don’t you want to say?

The Fund Trustee is not the title, not pride, and just life. And I always try to speak about the Foundation, not just in all the interviews it turns out. With the founder and Director of Jamila Aliyeva we met at the festival “Usadba.Jazz” and we started talking. I was amazed at how she lost due to cancer of the son, tries to help others. This trouble made it a motivator for life. God forbid to feel it. We can only be close.

The Foundation needed someone who would not afraid and didn’t shy from the stage to talk about charity and aid, and encouraged others to do so. Of course, I immediately agreed. I think we need every second to build and help. Such is life.

– How would you describe your role in Foundation?

I play at the hospital, and in these moments you perceive yourself as a medical tool. Here the surgeon has the scalpel, and I have a cello, because the music also heals. Believe not believe, but when you come into the room and listen to Mozart, run goosebumps… such emotion! Doctors need it too – they come in an ambulance to our home on call if need immediate assistance, and then the music came to him.

And, of course, my work has to do with events and publicity. On the posters always put the logo of “Anastasia’s”, give the amount of parts sold tickets. One day American Foundation “Orange Penguin” through me passed a plastic tube for expectoration, but the question arose: they give and we take and the import can not, because there is no excise stamp. There are, beds are at customs, and we understand that it is easier to buy new than to clear already donated. Good deeds sometimes Balk at the real difficulties of the bureaucratic, but we do not lose heart.

And one day the children took part in my project ArtCello – they were drawing and then the drawings I put in the cello. And when he came to him in the house, nothing had to say, and just play. The children saw their art on the instrument, and in their eyes was such a joy that I was ready to dance and forgot about the dropper.

– To play for kids in the house easier or harder than on the stage at the Philharmonic?

– Is another. I have to be to own the two hemispheres: to see sick children is heart nuresry, what is there to hide, insanely the plight of the boys. But it’s not a sentence, it is temporary, and God forbid that passed as quickly as possible and didn’t come back, we hope. On the other hand, I’m an artist, and I need not to see the pain, to play as if I came in kindergarten. But to play something mournful, and major, cheerful, for example, Bach’s music or tunes from “the Bremen musicians”. Maybe in the future some kid will recover and will want to learn to play the cello.

Should I bring positivity, hope and energy. Because children and parents will remain in the chambers and will live there while others do not come to visit. When the door closes, they still have the drip and the room with the gray wall.

Of course, it would be good to have this cancer center somewhere in the city centre and not on the Kashira highway. And so a terrible disease, and even in a scary place – it does not help to recover.

I believe that such a wildly successful and rich city of Moscow can afford to allocate in the center of the place for the hidden – to save the lives, of getting up on the feet of sick children and people in General. There is room for improvement, and I wish the Director Jamila Aliyeva not to give up.

– What at you the main dream associated with a charity?

The Jamila nearest dream – that in Moscow in the summer opened a large music festival or gala concert in the open air, where it will be rock, jazz, classic. We will invite a good leader, and let each ticket sold will go to the Fund. And we will invite children, which can leave the hospital doctors. The screens will show the success doctors: Need to know their heroes in person. And it’s not very heavy mission. I have a lot of friends-musicians who will respond.

With Jamila Aliyeva

It is necessary one-two times a year to do a charity ball. There’s Viennese ball. People dance and celebrate life. We should celebrate life with charity. The whole world does it and we should not be at the end of the sheet in this plan, be ashamed or afraid. It’s okay to participate in a charity race, come in the evening for dinner at a restaurant, listen to the speech of Opera divas, have a glass of champagne and write a check to the Fund. The venerable funds know how to organize the event.

We went for an interview in a French restaurant. I look at you and think: my God, very beautiful place, and it will be empty until 18-19 in the evening. Maybe someone, like us, run to get coffee. But the Fund could negotiate with the Director of the restaurant and from 12 to 16 to hold a children’s auction, allow people to play good music.

– In your opinion, charity should be beautiful?

– This is normal, and so everywhere. Now I’m talking about fundraising. When a doctor goes to school and learns how to cure cancer – it is charity, a good deed of this person. And it would be good to do for doctors what kind of program calming in such a stressful work as well as we care about, say, astronauts.

I just participated in a charity concert “Dmitri Hvorostovsky and friends to children”. Hvorostovsky several years has organized this kind of concerts and collected unique artists who sang for the sake of raising money for the children. It’s amazing just. And it goes on. Thanks to the Foundation. Dmitry Hvorostovsky. And I think the funds sometimes need to unite and to carry out such projects jointly.

Also interesting things you can do with the restaurants or cafes where, for example, burgers, salads or beverages are referred to as “she”, and the proceeds from the sale go to the Fund.

– That is for you, the question is what kind of help is more important – money or business, and bring any other forms of assistance to others ‘ distress and pain?

– You know, there are things and through the volunteer, which sometimes need more than money. And there are things you need to buy or pay for a room in a hotel or hostel to the parents who came with the child to be treated from another city or even country. And if you have no money to rent a room, then there are Fund. So everywhere it is accepted.

Any help is needed. You can send 50 rubles, etc, and the money fall into the account of the Fund. Touched you with the pain or not, but part of your good help. The objective of the Fund is to correctly show the accounts, so that people see that Fedor is saved, and the doctor Anton Semyonovich went for training and learnt to do the surgery.

“I dare you to play not in the house of culture, and mine?”

– Can you recall your first meeting with a man who needed help?

I can’t Mercantile to tell that once in school someone something gave. You know, I’m eight years doing music. And to play the cello is also a charity. To sit for 6-8 hours a day, to do, to bring the great notes written by Mozart or Beethoven… And as a producer I can combine the two 3 – 5 – 10 different styles of artists, and suddenly the scene turns out incredible good.

– Your experiments with genres is a way to promote the classics?

– Honestly, I’m not doing this for promotion, it is my lifestyle. You can beat popular tunes, as it did to us a hundred years – I live and come up with new ways in art. On the other hand, Yes, all over the world to force you to buy a ticket and listen to two hours of cello or any one artist is insanely difficult, unless the contractor is not 70 years old and his portrait not on every post. So I sit, waiting for the weather by the sea I don’t want, and built myself, and my cello is an organic part of different genres. I’m not saying “no”, until they study the issue and make several attempts – and why not? Saying “no”, we just cut the ability, and it is not a good thing.

In October I went to Belgorod for the premiere of the rock Opera musical, written by Metropolitan John of Belgorod and Stary Oskol. He is a composer, once loved rock and his poetry composed by the incredible beauty of the music. A perfectly orchestrated everything, my friend, the composer Roman Lvovich. We had the first show with a Symphony orchestra, vocal soloists and the cello. I call this the rock Opera “Jesus Christ superstar. Part 2.”

With Metropolitan John. Photo:

This music is about love, parents, “the bread of my father” – the right feelings for human life. And it’s all inherent in the music. Someone goes to the temple, and someone will come to the Philharmonic, like in the temple, I think. The project will open the eyes of many.

– What?

That there is pure, outright love and friendship that exist in the world some of the bustle and busyness, and what a bustle we sometimes don’t see the point. After listening to our epic musical, better person.

– And how did it happen that you went down the mine and played there?

Once in the city of Gubkin were great Rostropovich. One of the festivals in Belgorod was the Director of the Gubkin mine, and whether I have to pin, or to add to the conversation a touch of intrigue, he asked: “I dare you to play not in the house of culture, and mine?” Say, “you Know, that just was not there… Let’s try, I think.” And dispersed. And after some time calls and says: “Everything is ready. We whitewashed the shop for repairs, there will be a concert hall, brought chairs from IKEA, put the speakers. Together will go down at a certain time. How was it?”. I said, “are You serious?” “Yes, the miners already know.”

Here’s how to relate to their employees, so will production. They are not scared too intelligent cello. I together with Metropolitan John went down into the mine.

– Were you scared?

To go a few minutes down in the dark in the Elevator two-on-two – well, what you say? It’s the adrenaline. And it was the Russian Guinness record by playing the cello at depth.

– What about acoustics?

Was good. It’s a big shop, metal ore all around us. And you know what I said to the miners? “I’m going to play Bach, who all his life played on. The body is made of metal and it is mined you.” The circle is closed.

– And how did they react?

We all hugged then photographed. And they were just “Waaaaa. That’s the power of the tool!”. Someone compared my cello and the vibration of the string with the sound of a jackhammer. They wanted to find some connection. All of these sounds and mine… Blast the ore. Two days ago the boy died… there was a bad explosion and had stopped… All know what a dangerous job… and how important every second to be alert and to always understand that over your head tons of ore.

But I went to the mine not to record. Charity is the norm.

I think the child should be allowed to say anything: “get straight a’s, go in for sports”, but if a parent would do something charitable and this is a chance to see the child, then he will be a master class for life.

– You have had a master class?

– You know, my parents gave his whole life to music. And I realized that it’s like a Church service. Here is the service of God, and there is music. The music is the same God in terms of relationship and responsibility, not to be lazy. It is work. Every second is a spiritual work.

With mother Marina Struleva

My father sang in the choir Minin, and this choir was the base in Znamensky Cathedral on ulitsa Varvarka, and dad often took me to work – well, not one to leave. And I was never bored, although I did not understand Church Slavonic words. They then rehearsed Siderova and “Liturgy” Rachmaninoff, and it was the same magic, as if to go to the service. And my Outlook as a musician was formed there.

Few people understand, but I used to be on the stage with Opera singers and with them perform “sing” on the cello. I have a program where I play with orchestra, Opera arias, and recently created a program to music by Igor Krutoy for the show “deja vu” Dmitri Hvorostovsky – he is no longer with us, but the music can live, and since I am not a baritone and cellist, can afford to play it in honor of the great Hvorostovsky.

It is impossible to think that the state for a child you will choose something

– Do you regret that chose the cello?

– So it was just a coincidence and it was absolutely ridiculous and corny. But what do you want from eight years of age? In China with two years of playing. When we came to the music school to sign up for a vocal, the Director said: “Borislav! You think! All life to stand with a violin? And with the cello you’ll always be on the chair.” They must have had to recruit more cello, and all the places on the piano or the violin any longer. And my parents is only a piano or vocals. But can we regret? No. If I do a good thing? Do. My cello has become my continuation and tool life.

In General, to do what has never been done before you and after you is the highest measure for which we serve art.

Quite a lot of very successful musicians and artists are doing everything a blueprint. The audience comes in, and well. It is clear that Rodion Shchedrin will not be performed frequently on all radio stations. All great music has always been supported by kings and kings. But now I don’t see how “Gazprom” ordered our here leaving composers with something new, Russian, great.


– I believe Yes. You need to invest in their homeland, its future, its intellectual achievements. I would like to see the order from the most successful of our business, so after two hundred years of memories about our time. Yes, the trombone already, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Kabalevsky. But that XXI century will give?

We have no artistic risk. Managers fear that not sell tickets and financial burned, so it’s best to call old stars and it is desirable Western. And to think, why am I going to do something new when my old songs and love so much? But where is the place for the avant-garde of the XXI century?

Always strained relations between politicians, but the halls of Carnegie hall at all times full concerts of Russian artists. I see incredible Americans ‘ love of Russian culture.

– You once said that your parents left everything to develop your talent and my mother even moved with you to America. What if our parents sacrificed herself and then the child does not become successful as you? After all, the grown-up child may blame the parents that was not doing what he is interested in, for example.

– Every family is different, of course. And I have no such advice to parents. But everyone in the family. And the house should something happen to the child got on the right track. In any case there should not be violence or sostavleniya. It is not that you need to get the boy to stand for ten hours and strum the violin. But it is necessary to search for and discover talents in children.

We wanted them, we gave birth to them… It is a huge responsibility and it is impossible to think that the child will go to school and state to choose. Of course, it is easier if born in a family of musicians. Piano, concerts, Conservatoire friends. Look at China, where in 3-4 years old to play as the robots. There is a factory of talents.

– What about the child?

– To spend all his childhood in the porch with a beer and a cigarette or playing computer games is brokerstvo. But if you went to a competition in another city, I met with the guys, wrote newspaper – this is childhood. And if you play the violin, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run with the ball, walking in the pool, chat with friends. I have never had such a “Ah, Boleslavchik, in hands not to take anything”. I wore the bricks at the cottage, I had a bike, a football, and then violoncello. It really helped me. Although, of course, I realized that music is my bread and if I break a finger all down the drain.

– You already knew, what is your profession?

But how? I still was born into a family of musicians. Maybe that would be a chemist, or zoologist, but honestly, I don’t imagine it. Once all was chosen by fate.

– Do you believe in fate?

– Believe.

– “Should you find yourself in life and understand who you are. With great love to do something for which you were born,” said one. And how to understand what the person is born?

– If you eat strawberries and you have diathesis, you will come to the conclusion: I can’t eat strawberries. Try the sashimi – not like, you know, I don’t need raw fish. If you do the steps, make mistakes, of course, all the time to choose, you can find your. Any child something is. When we got in the house there was a cello, I like the fable “Monkey and glasses,” could not emit and sound, but there was so much interest that the cello is like a new person in the family, and knew that as soon as possible need a tune up.

Life is first of all energy, and we need to be able to create. Can be sluggish to interview, sluggish to play the cello. Like the plays, learned the notes, but not touching. A professional must have been the Bunny, too, knows how to play the drum.

Listen to Mozart – and to live easier

– What, in your opinion, is it not in the family to teach children to help others?

– Well, for example, one school may help another, or older guys to take patronage over the younger. Students can take parcels of food and relate to our elderly. It’s all very simple, but it has to be not terribly homemade.

It’s hard to watch the elderly, they are afraid of old age, although twenty-first century, should not be so scared. Yes, we come alone and go alone. But, if you’re old, then immediately, “I can’t”, “I will not go there”, “I don’t need to wear that.” Want Western manners a little bit. The older you get, the greater must be these thoughts: “Finally I can go on a trip, because I was working”.

– You are not afraid of old age?

– No, I’m not, because I don’t give to yourself, your character on this to concentrate and even to talk. When we see an old pianist Arthur Rubinstein, and he gives an interview and shows that he has a young soul and a young heart. Profession rejuvenates us. Listen to Mozart and to live easier, anyway. The sounds, the history, the Tyrolean mountains… our heart and soul will absorb it like a sponge, and we strike it rich and become better and deeper. All the time we need to grow, not to be ashamed of those years that you wanted to grow.

– The question you ask often, but still will ask: whom do you now feel more Russian or American?

– I was born in Moscow, studied at the Central music school in the first years of study he traveled all over Russia with concerts. Then got a scholarship and went to study in new York.

Yes, it so happened that in Russia, then I came just 12 years later. But my goal all my life was the glorification of Russian culture. It does not matter the location of the musician, who he is and what he seen and heard him in his acts.

Early in the 90s people were left, forgotten languages, was a huge political scandals, the term “defectors”. A sense of depression and nostalgia. I remember my mom and a friend brought Borodinsky bread, dad passed Newspapers. And thank God that those barriers never came back.

I’m the person who got a free American education, made friends, the best musicians of all genres, and are now ready to share, to work for the good of the Motherland.

Sometimes Jamil at the meetings said to me “Remember that boy? He had recovered and gone home with his mother!”. And it is a great joy, because the loss of human life is the worst. Why anybody is not insured, but God forbid, of course. And our business is somehow… to anticipate it. I want to wish everyone to live life to the fullest and to respond to charity!


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