The remarkable Russian composer Valery Gavrilin (1939 – 1999) takes the right place among the most glorified sons of the Vologda land - K. Batyushkov and V. Vereschagin, V. Gilyarovsky and N. Klyuyev, V. Shalamov and N. Rubtsov. He was born on August, 17, 1939 in Vologda, and it is here that he began his difficult, but bright and original way to art. Gavrilin wrote: «Vologda for me … is the place where I for the first time got acquainted with the life in all its displays … I compose and I live only with what I have become impregnated in the childhood in my native land».
And the childhood was hard – the father was lost at the front, and after the arrest of mother Valery was brought up in children's home in Kovyrino near Vologda. His first teacher of music was T.D. Tomashevskaya. Due to her requests in 1953 she got the consent of Valery's mother for his training at a special musical school in the Leningrad conservatory, and then, since 1958, in the conservatory itself. In 1964 V. Gavrilin graduated as a musicologist and a composer, and in a year he was accepted to the Union of composers of the USSR.
The basic features of Gavrilin thinking were obvious already at early stages of his creative way – orientation on the democratic audience, theatricality, tendency to genre, figurative and stylistic mixtures – to the combination of the high and low, of the joke and grotesque, banal and tragical, archaic and most recent. The freshness of music of the composer is achieved in many respects due to folklore, including «low» genres (chastooshka, «sufferings», painful and petty-bourgeois romance). V. Gavrilin, along with G. Sviridov and R. Schedrin, was one of the representatives of the so-called «new folklore wave»; the ethics and aesthetics of his music is close to the prose by V. Rasputin and V. Shukshin, V. Astafyev and V. Belov.
Gavrilin's music has quickly won the recognition. He was awarded with the Glinki State premium of the RSFSR (1967) for the vocal cycle «Russian writing-book», I premium of All-Union Song competition (1977) for the song «Two brothers», the premium of Lenin Komsomol (1980) for the vocal-symphonic poem «Wartime letters», the vocal-instrumental cycle «Earth» and the song «Two brothers». Then there followed the ranks of the honored worker of arts (1979), the national artist of the RSFSR, the State premium of the USSR for the choral symphony - performance «Chiming» (1985) and the premium of the mayor of Saint Petersburg for the contribution to musical culture of the city (1995). Ballet «Anyuta» on Gavrilin's music in 1983 was awarded with « the Gold prize» at X All-Union television festival, and in 3 years at the stage of San Carlo in Naples it was called the best performance of the year in Italy. Wide popularity and love of the audience, besides the already mentioned compositions, won the songs «Joke», «Bird cherry», vocal cycles «Pretty Evening» and two «German writing-books», piano pieces.
V. Gavrilin lived mostly in the northern capital, but his connections with Vologda were never interrupted – he wrote music for performances of the Vologda Drama Theatre, participated in I Regional Folklore Conference (1968), the Sergievsky International Congress (1992), headed the jury of the Regional competition of amateur-composers (1981). In Vologda he repeatedly gave concerts, the last - in the Voznesensky Cathedral of the Kremlin in April 1997.
Right after the death of the composer (on January, 28 1999, Saint Petersburg) under the decision of V.E. Pozgalev, the Governor of the Vologda Oblast in 1996-2011, was created the Commission on V.A. Gavrilin's heritage, and the Vologda Philarmonic Society was given his name. Within the framework of the regional program «Gavrilin's Heritage» the whole complex of events is carried out annually.
The largest musical project of the region is the Gavrilin International Music Festival (1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008). In Vologda - Governor's International Youth Competition (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013). In the Sokol Children's Music School and in the Gavrilin Children's Music School in Kadnikov the Vologda Oblast Regional Competition of Young Pianists «Chiming of destiny» is held.
Publishing house «Composer - St.-Petersburg «is carrying out the publication of the Full Set of Works by V.Gavrilin (in 20 volumes). 7 from them have already been published, volume I («Chiming») - with the support of the Department of culture of Vologda Oblast. Books «About music and not only …» (2001), «This surprising Gavrilin …» (2002), «Listening with the heart …» (2005) were also issued; some of his compositions are on CD.
Annually at the end of January in Vologda are the Days of memory of Gavrilin. The expositions devoted to the composer, are open in the branch of the Vologda Museum-Reserve of History, Architecture and Art «Literature. Art. Century XX», in the Vologda Regional Museum of Local Lore in Kubenskoye, in the Museum of Local Lore in Kadnikov. Boarding- school № 1 for children – orphans of Vologda has Gavrilin's name, in 2000 under the decision of the Committee of the International astronomical union his name was given to planet № 7369.
Different events dedicated to the memory of music by V. Gavrilin are also held in Saint Petersburg. With the support of Vologda Oblast in 2000 the gravestone monument to the composer was opened of the Volkov cemetery, in 2001 the memorial board on Gavrilin's house (Pestel Street, 12) was opened. The name of the composer is given to Children's Musical School № 8 of Primorsky district and to the International children's competition «I am a composer». The department of Theory and Composition in the St.-Petersburg Conservatory grants his scholarship. The Gavrilin festivals were held almost simultaneously in Vologda and in St. Petersburg (1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008).