Sergey Kuryokhin

From Unearthing The Music

Sergey Kuryokhin

Sergey Anatolyevich Kuryokhin (Russian: Серге́й Анато́льевич Курёхин, also transliterated as Sergei Kuriokhin, Sergei Kurekhin, Sergueï Kouriokhine, Sergey Kuriokhin, etc.; nicknamed "The Captain";[1] 16 June 1954 – 9 July 1996) was a Russian composer, pianist, music director, experimental artist, film actor and writer, based in St. Petersburg, Russia.[2]


Kuryokhin began his acting career as a piano and keyboard player with a school band in Leningrad. After playing with professional jazz bands, as well as popular rock musicians, Kuryokhin went through several stages in his career and eventually became one of the most recognisable names and faces in Russia during the 1980s and 1990s.[3]

By the end of his life, he had emerged as an avant-garde film composer, performance artist and film actor. Outside Russia he is primarily known as a jazz and experimental musician, through his works released since 1981 on UK's Leo Records, as well as his concert tours with Ensemble Pop-Mekhanika and his happening show also titled Pop Mekhanika. He also made a significant contribution to several albums (in particular: Triangle, Taboo and Radio Africa) of the famous Russian rock band Aquarium.[3]

His memorable film works include starring in (and composing music for) Two Captains II (Два капитана II), a comedic pseudo-documentary about World War I; the soundtrack to the neo-noir Russian horror film The Designer (Господин Оформитель), and the lead role of the combative nerd taking on the local mob in Lokh pobeditel vody.

Kuryokhin shot to fame after creating one of the first popular memes in Russian media. It was one of his semi-improvised acts of performance art, broadcast live on Russian television in May 1991. As a guest on the popular talk show Fifth Wheel, Kuryokhin provided "proof" that Lenin was a mushroom.[4][5] During the 1990s, Kuryokhin was a board member of the St. Petersburg City Council for Culture and Tourism. In 1995 Kuryokhin joined the National Bolshevik Party.[6][7]


He died of a rare heart condition, cardiac sarcoma, aged 42 in 1996, and was laid to rest in the Komarovo Cemetery, near the tomb of Anna Akhmatova.


The Saint-Petersburg Annual International Music Festival SKIF (Sergey Kuriokhin International Festival) is named after him. Kuryokhin festivals annually take place in Berlin, Amsterdam and New York.

In 2004 the Sergey Kuryokhin Foundation and the Kuryokhin Center were founded. The foundation collects information about Kuryokhin and the Center organises events in the spirit of the artist. Both are located in the same building, an old cinema in Saint Petersburg. In 2009 the Sergey Kuryokhin Foundation and the Kuryokhin Center established an annual award in the field of the modern art.[8]


  • The Ways of Freedom (Leo Records, 1981)
  • Tragedy in Rock (1988)
  • Mr. Designer (1989)
  • Popular Science (1989) with Henry Kaiser
  • Album for Children (1991)
  • Opera for the Rich (1991)
  • Some combinations of fingers and passion (1991)
  • Sparrow Oratorium/Four Seasons (1994)
  • Friends Afar (Sound Wave Records, 1996) with Kenny Millions
  • Dear John Cage (Long Arm Records, 1996) with Kenny Millions

Other works

  • Music for the stage production of the Chekhov's Chaika (aka The Seagull) (1994)
  • Music for the Russian TV series Anna Karenina (2007)
  • Title Music for BBC TV series Comrades 1985, one episode of which featured him and other Leningrad
  • Musicians, as well as his Pop Mechanics Orchestra
  • Mister Designer (1988)
  • Buster's Bedroom (1990)


  1. Walter Ojakäär. "Kuryokhin, Sergey". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.
  2. "Sergey Kuryokhin - passed 20 years ago away - podcast online". 2 August 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  3. Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, Brian Priestley (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides. p. 456. ISBN 978-1-843-53256-9. Sergey Kuryokhin.
  4. Irina Prokhorova, Anders Roslund (2013). 1990: Russians Remember a Turning Point. Hachette UK. ISBN 978-0-857-05202-5.
  5. Orens, Geoff. "Sergey Kuryokhin | Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  6. Franz Nicolay (2016). The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar. The New Press. ISBN 978-1-620-97180-2.
  7. Жвания, Дмитрий (July 9, 2012). "Сергей Курёхин: «Национал-большевизм — это свежий ветер и подвижничество»" [Sergey Kuryokhin: “National Bolshevism is a fresh wind and an ascetism”]. Sensus Novus (in Russian). Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2017.

Further reading

  • Кушнир, А. И. (2013). Сергей Курёхин. Безумная механика русского рока [Sergey Kuryokhin: The Mad Mechanics of Russian Rock] (in Russian). Moscow: Bertelsmann Media Moscow. ISBN 978-5-88353-567-2.
  • Larkin, Colin, ed. (1998). "Kuryokhin, Sergey". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 4 (3rd ed.). London; New York: Muze. p. 3087. ISBN 1561592374.

External links

Text adapted from Wikipedia.