Sergey Letov

From Unearthing The Music

Sergei Letov at the release of Alexander Kan's book "Kuryokhin". Photo by Dmitry Rozhkov

Sergey Fyodorovich Letov (Russian: Серге́й Фё́дорович Ле́тов, born September 24, 1956), is a Russian musician and composer, known for his improvisational style. He is the founder of the recording label Pentagram. He has collaborated with numerous jazz, avant-garde, modern classical, rock and electronic music artists, including his younger brother Yegor Letov, composer Sergey Kuryokhin, Alexei Borisov and Ivan Sokolovsky, and the cult Soviet art punk band DK. Letov has written music for movies and plays, collaborating with Russian, Italian and Austrian theatres, the German non-profit cultural association Goethe-Institut, and the Moscow Institute of Journalism and Literature.


Sergey Letov studied physics and mathematics at a boarding school in Novosibirsk, before moving to Moscow, where he studied chemistry and aviation materials, which would later lead to working, among other things, on the heat-resistant coatings of the Soviet "Buran" shuttle".

He is a self taught musician, having learned how to play the saxophone, flute and bass clarinet by himself. His first public performance was in April 1982, with Mark Pekarsky's percussion ensemble.

With his younger brother, Yegor Letov, Sergey had numerous disagreements. He has stated: “The main difference between me and my brother was that I never aspired to widespread popularity. The number of people at concerts and the number of fans have never been important to me. For me, loyalty to my beliefs and interests was the right way. Yegor and I argued a lot about this. He was annoyed by my, so to speak, elitism - that is, addressing only few. And he was very much annoyed. In this he felt a constant encroachment on his own inner truth. When Yegor was a young man, he felt a lot of pressure on my part, and many of my friends justly condemned me for this. It’s as if I am putting too much pressure on him, trying to instill in him my views on life, while he supposedly has his own path, the right one. The result of these disagreements was his departure from Moscow to Omsk and the termination of our joint music classes in the 1980s. In fact, the idea of ​​his radicalism is not very justified. Igor is characterized by a methodical building of his circle of fans, a certain “marketing", if such a word can be used. My brother used clear strategies, and he acted quite tough in this regard. He thought a lot about it and behaved absolutely flawlessly. His success is based partly on this."[2]

Between 1982 and 1993 he worked with Sergey Kuryokhin, both as a duo and with Pop Mechanics, playing throughout the USSR and Europe. From 1984 onwards he also played and recorded with many other groups and artists, including Aquarium, Tsentr, Alisa, Atonal Syndrome and others.

In 1985, Sergey Letov founded the TRI-O brass band, where he plays with Arkady Shilkloper (horn), Arkady Kirichenko (tuba, euphonium, bass pipe, vocals), Alexander Alexandrov (bassoon) and Yuri Parfyonov (trumpet, alt horn).The band performed at almost every jazz festival in the USSR, as well as in Europe and the USA.

Since 1986, he collaborated with singer Valentina Ponomaryova.


The following is a partial list of albums featuring Sergey Letov[1]

  • TRI-O. Trialogue. SoLyd Records, 1995
  • Document. New Music from Russia. The 80-s. Leo Records
  • Conspiracy. Zurich 1989. Leo Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin Polynesia. SoLyd Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop-Mechanika. Live in France. Kurizza records
  • Kings and cabbages. Moscow Composers Orchestra. Leo Records
  • Moscow Composers Orchestra and Sainkho. Life at City Garden. U-Sound
  • Soft Animals. Conquest of the Arctic. Random
  • Dice 2. She Says. Ishtar Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Tragedy in Style Fate. Union Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Divine Madness. Leo Records
  • DK. A cup of tea. SS Records
  • The soldier Semenov. Step back! ZVUKOREKI
  • Sainkho. Out of Tuva. Craw 6
  • DDT. Time. DDT Records
  • Inna Kuznetsova. A lonely island + 4 Remakes DJ OBJie. Objective Music
  • Suchilin, Letov, Pillaev. Palma mira (A Palm of Peace). Objective Music
  • Umka & Bronevichok. Komandovat' paradom. Otdeleniye vyhod
  • DK. A mine field by the 8 of March. SS Records
  • DK. Moskva kolbasnaya. SS Records
  • AU (Pig) Holiday of Disobedience or The Last Day of Pompei 1998
  • Valentina Ponomareva. FORTE. Boheme Music
  • Yury Yaremchuk. Duets. Landy Star
  • Misha Feigin with Serguei Letov. Moscow in June. Spontaneous Folks Records
  • DK. DMB-85. SS Records
  • DK. An Occupation. SS Records
  • DK. Tantsy-Shmantsy Brahmsa SS Records
  • DK. Boga Nyet SS Records
  • DK. Do osnovania a zatem. SS Records
  • DK. Snova liubov' poselitsa. SS Records
  • Nick Rock-n-Roll and group Trite Dushu. Padre. Branch "exit".
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Italy. Solyd Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Iblivyi opossum. Solyd Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Don Carlos. Solyd Records
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Prizrak Kommunisma. Solyd Records
  • DK. FAMILY of the FLOWER KINGS. SS Records
  • TRI-O and one D.A.Prigov. HOR Records
  • Sergey Letov, Alexei Borisov, Anton Nikkilä. HOR Records
  • Grazhdanskaya Oborona. Zvezdopad. HOR Records
  • Grazhdanskaya Oborona. Tribute. Misteria zvuka
  • Grazhdanskaya Oborona. Svoboda (Freedom). HOR Records
  • Yegor Letov, Sergei Letov. Concert in O.G.I.. HOR Records
  • Golden Years of Soviet New Jazz. Volume III. Leo records
  • Sergei Letov - Yury Parfenov. Secret Doctrine. HOR Records
  • Vladimir Miller and Quartets. Long Arms
  • Andrei Suchilin. Quasiland
  • Virtual Flowers. Dark Cocktail. Random Music. [1]
  • Sokolovsky Ivan, Letov Serguei. Simulated Prison. Random Music
  • THE NEW BLOCKADERS/GOSPLAN TRIO. Sound Sketch for Raging Flames [2]
  • Rada & Ternovnik. Zagovory. Vyrgorod
  • Sainkho Namtchylak. Arzhaana. Asia+
  • Sergey Kuryokhin. Pop-Mechanics. WESTBAM
  • TRI-O & Sainkho. Forgotten streets of St. Petersburg. Leo Records
  • HLAM. Woodstockeveryday. HLAM Records
  • Zoo Jazz. Hivernale Pudeur. Sergey Letov. Pascal Rousseau. Ivan Sokolovsky. Exotica EXO 03137
  • Alex Rostotsky/Yury Parfenov. Once Upon a Time in the City of Kazan Cosmic Sounds CS-17
  • EMBRYO 2000 live vol. 1 Indigo 9753-2
  • Sergey Letov, Alexei Borisov, D. A. Prigov. Concert in O.G.I. Otdelenie VYHOD V 168
  • KILLDOZER. Vadim Kurilev and Sergey Letov.
  • Elektricheskiye Partizany (Electric Guerillas). Chyorny Protuberanets ili Nam Nuzhna Anarkhiya
  • Symphony of Horror. Cisfinitum and Sergey Letov.
  • Oxford News. Lidya Kavina, Sergey Letov, Vladimir Kitliar, Misha Salnikov and Alexei Borisov.


  1. Homepage of Sergey Letov (retrieved on April 1, 2008)

Text partially adapted from Wikipedia