Press & Quotes

A world premiere of Russian-born Margarita Zelenaia’s string quartet “August. Sunset Bloom” inspired by her observations of nature in New York’s Fort Tryon Park… The music is affecting and atmospheric… The composer skillfully exploits the instruments’ resources to depict light, water, motion and color with sound effects to create textural diversity, and crashes and lyrical, singing passages to add contrast. Philharmonic violinist Anna Rabinova, who commissioned the work and is its dedicatee, led a secure, persuasive performance, handling her prominent, virtuosic part with authority and aplomb


I met Margarita Zelenaia in 1997, when I gave a world premiere of her “Suite in Stylistic Dances” for violin and piano in Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. I loved the work and continued to play it after the premiere.

What was really fascinating for me to discover in Margarita Zelenaia’s music is her naturally theatrical thinking. Each of three dances of the “Suite” that I played moved through various moods, invoking the mosaic of images with development of each individual plot. She deals very successfully with poly-stylistics, so that the listener is able not only to recognize the familiar styles, but becomes deeply involved in a surprising process of some unexpected and intriguing turns and metamorphoses. For me, as a performer, it was similar to acting, when all of a sudden, or during the well-prepared transition, I had to ‘change the mask’. Her music can be light and humoristic, dramatic and full of sadness. It is always touching your soul, deeply moving.

Not surprisingly, I commissioned Margarita again and gave the world premiere on October 26, 2008 of her work “August. Sunset Bloom” for string quartet that was performed by myself and others with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Lincoln Center’s Merkin Concert Hall. “August. Sunset Bloom” is set in four movements and is based on the composer’s perception of nature as observed at New York City’s Upper Fort Tryon Park. The work was extremely well received by audience – and by all of us musicians.

In Margarita Zelenaia’s music I recognize that the composer has a lot to say and it is my great pleasure to try to decode it. She is a composer who is able to solve very difficult music tasks with utmost creativity, quality, and efficiency.

By Anna Rabinova, NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC violinist

Ms. Zelenaia has consciously aligned herself with lightness and romanticism. In the manner of a playwright, she uses music in all her works to create unexpected turns of plot and a sense of intrigue. The idea of a composition, realized with a consistent inscrutability, is directly related to the theatrical nature of her thinking.

Program notes by editors on a world premiere of the “Pantomimes”, CARNEGIE HALL, ISAAC STERN AUDITORIUM: Solo recital of Ana Maria Bottazzi, a concert pianist

Margarita Zelenaia’s opera "Caligula’s Favorite Play" (“Caligula” in Russian) is a unique newest work that can replenish the repertoire of the opera theaters. Not all of the composer's works have been studied, however, they deserve separate, autonomous attention, and are of undoubted interest to musicologists and performers

By Ksenia Viktorova, DIPLOMA, Department of Music Theory, Ufa State Institute of Arts

The clear highlight of the program was another world premiere, Zelenaia’s Fantasy for Four Pianos on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” This is not so much an arrangement as an original work, a fantasy on themes from the popular orchestral work. The piece progresses dramatically with some nice solo opportunities, and the idiomatic arrangement concludes with a nod to Russian Romanticism.


Zelenaia has transcribed Vivaldi’s “Summer” from The Four Seasons and has composed a brilliant and original Fantasy on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

By Jack Price, Managing Director of PRICE and RUBIN, MUSICAL AMERICA

The One World Symphony founded by students of the Conductors Institute at Bard will give two benefit concerts for the victims of the September 11 tragedy at the World Trade Center in New York. The program features performances of Mozart's Requiem and Ave Verum Corpus, as well as Samuel Barber's String Quartet and a world premiere performance of Margarita Zelenaia's “Life is Beautiful”, a work for baritone solo and small ensemble. Music director and conductor David Hong, a master's degree candidate at the Conductors Institute (CI) at Bard, comments that “Life is Beautiful”, which features a text from Chekhov, is a work that "strikingly connects with our current crisis in its portrayal of restoration of harmony after discord.

By Emily Darrow, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y., Bard College

Margarita Zelenaia's "The Agony in the Garden, based on El Greco" is the composition, original in concept and unique in its musical embodiment, is already becoming a significant part of the of world musical culture.

By Irina Alexeeva, article "Margarita the Zelenaia: poem " The Agony in the Garden, based on El Greco": the Musical Embodiment of the Biblical Story." ARTS EDUCTION and SIENCE, one of the leading Russian scientific journals in the field of art history, education and cultural studies.

A perfect fusion of spiritual and expressive semantics, the full autonomy of the very core of the painting by the language of music is yours, and no one else. The ingenious complementarity of the music of "The Agony in the Garden" by Margarita Zelenaia and the El Greco’s painting is the clearest example in the history of Russian culture.

By Vasiliy Medved, comments in discussion in the group "COMPOSERS of the XXI CENTURY"

Margarita Zelenaia’s "Pan's Pastoral for a Shepherd" captures a very simple, ancient melody - something within the color range and the rhythmic capabilities of Pan's instrument. Also, something very improvisational, that Pan would have played himself, for one of his shepherds under a tree at twilight.... The repose in a way has a drama of its own, like one of Bartok's folk songs. Even though the piece represents Pan at his most beneficent, giving the gift of music, there is a glimpse of the self-impressed virtuoso here... He did challenge Apollo to a talent contest and beat him. There is so much going on in the piece - all pure enjoyment.

By Bradley Wilber, Liner Notes: ‘ARCADIAN MURMURS’, PAN in PIECES Vol.1 Euterpe Recordings; Nina Assimakopoulos solo Flute CD

The spiritual theme in the poem “I Believe” by Margarita Zelenaia goes far beyond the boundaries of a purely religious idea, drawing a humanistic “line” of the composer’s work. Possessing a deep memory of culture, the multidimensionality of temporal, national, and stylistic associations, prayers in the composition undergo numerous metamorphoses, but remain an eternal spiritual guide for living and future generations.

By Irina Alexeeva, “Margarita Zelenaia, the Poem (Prayer) "I Believe" for violin solo and string orchestra: the Implementation of a Spiritual Theme”, BULLETIN of MUSICAL SIENCE.

Everything looked like in a real animated film: green bumps, sedge growing by the lake, and a bridge over the stream. All, except for one, - the heroes of the new opera named "Winnie- the- Pooh Once Again", staged at the State Children's Musical Theater, were alive and knew how to sing. This performance became the operatic debut of the composer Margarita Zelenaia. The opera was written to the libretto by Boris Zakhoder, who, as you know, was the first to retell Alan Miln's fairy tale in Russian in 1960. The ringing remarks, witty dialogues helped the composer to create a light, playful orchestral score of the opera, in which recitatives, small arias and ensembles written with a great knowledge of the nature of the voice, original intonations, and generous melodiousness.

By Galina Soboleva, "Winnie-the-Pooh Sings Aria", MOSCOW EVENING