Margarita Zelenaia

Margarita Zelenaia

BIOGRAPHY
COMPOSITIONS
CDs
VIDEOS
NEWS POST

The music of Russian-born composer Margarita Zelenaia received its Lincoln Center premiere in 1997 and its Carnegie Hall premiere in 2001. Among her most recent world premieres (2010) was “The Lion that Could not Roar”, a music fairy-tale that was written in collaboration with Robert Sherman, great radio personality from WQXR, and performed by the “Damocles Piano Trio”, clarinetist Pavel Vinnitsky, and Mr. Sherman as a narrator. In 2009 her duo “Homage II” (violin & cello) received its world premiere at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Chicago Chamber Musicians' First Monday concert series and was broadcast live on WFMT Chicago. In 2008 for creation the “Byzantine Chants”, sacred concerto for a Solo Cello Ms. Zelenaia was awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) grants. Then she was invited by Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of music of Cathedral of St. Patrick, to be a quest at the radio show "Sounds from the Spires" (The Catholic Channel SIRIUS 159 XM 117) where Dr. Pascual is a host. One hour program showcased the “Byzantine Chants”. In 2007 she was a recipient of the "Encore" program grant from the American Composers Forum, and a year later her works were being performed at the Kaplan Penthouse Chamber Music Series at Lincoln Center by musicians of the New York Philharmonic. Retaining a close relationship with the famed New York orchestra, her string quartet, "August. Sunset Bloom," was given its world premiere on the Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall series, receiving both critical and audience acclaim. Versatile in genre, the music of Margarita Zelenaia defies stylistic boundaries and ranges from operatic and chamber works, to musical theater and art songs. Without prejudices and stereotypes in her writing, Zelenaia posses a rare ability to infuse her music with humor and lyrical tenderness, while also producing works of tremendous depth and seriousness. Casting aside the stereotypical mold of a "contemporary" composer, Zelenaia is a strong believer in melody and direct audience communication.
Margarita Zelenaia has been commissioned by the musicians of the New York Philharmonic, the Department of Culture of the former USSR, the Department of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Concert Philharmonic Society and the Russian Chamber Orchestra – "The Seasons," among many others. Her recent works are in the performing repertoire of musicians from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, etc., as well as other renowned artists such as concert pianist Ana Maria Bottazzi, concert cellists Christophor Miroshnikov (Russia), Andrey Tchekmazov, Jacob Braun, Italian concert pianist Paolo Vergari, Albanian baritone Kreshnik Zhabjaku, soprano Melanie Mitrano, mezzo-soprano Leslie Middlebrook, concert violinists Nina Beilina, Jasmine Lin, David Fulmer, and Ana Miloslavlevich (Serbia), award-winning clarinetist Sean Rice, One World Symphony Singers & Ensemble, the “Second Instrumental Unit”, ISSA Sonus Ensemble, neoLIT Ensemble, and chamber orchestra "Bacchanalia."
Her two-act comic opera for children Winnie the Pooh Once Again, commissioned by the Moscow State Academic Children's Musical Theatre, has been performed in over 400 major venues in Russia, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Czechoslovakia, becoming a part of Children's Musical Theater's standard repertoire for over 15 years. Excerpts from Zelenaia's musical Alice in Wonderland have sold more than 450,000 copies to date and over 40 performances of her miscellaneous works, including incidental works for TV and movies, have been broadcast in Russia, Israel and the United States. Her vocal cycles, art songs, works for chamber ensembles and piano compositions for children have subsequently been performed at the Moscow Autumn Festival, the Young Peoples' Arts Festival, the Moscow Spring Festival, the Tutti New Music Festival in Ohio, the New Music North (Canada), and the American Composers Alliance Festival (New York), the Summit Music Festival, to name a few.
Zelenaia began her compositions studies at an early age and by the age of 12 hosted her own musical TV program that was broadcast internationally. Recipient of the prestigious Lenin Scholarship, her mentors included Professor Genrich Litinskyi, the former teacher of Aram Khachaturyan. In 2007, the biography of Margarita Zelenaia was included in the 61st Edition of the Who's Who in America and Who's Who Among America Women that feature the career histories and credentials of the country's most accomplished and influential individuals.
She is currently living in Fort Lee, NJ, where she is an active composer and a sought-after educator.

Homage

Year: 2004

Duration (in minutes): 11'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble, solo voice(s) with solo instruments

Instruments: any string, any voice, cello

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Homage' is a vocal cycle for soprano and cello dedicated to the great Russians and has hree movements: Vocalize (to S. Rakhmaninov), Don Juan (based on Marina Tsvetaeva excerpt from her poem 'Don Juan') and 'Ducks Are Flying', a reworked Russian folk song (to I. Stravinsky).When the cycle was written I realized that it is a meditation on the feelings that any woman has through her life: a dream of the pure beauty (#1.Vocalize), the breathless expectation of the life major event and the disappointed hopes (#2.Don Juan) and a mix of irony and despair through the humoristic sight to what has happened (#3).

Piano Duo cycle

Year: 2001

Duration (in minutes): 18'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: piano, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: Piano Duo cycle has two movements.
The idea of the 'Reflection'(#1) was to express through the music the reflection in many different meanings (inside and outside of us): simply an unclear water reflection, the reflection of dark and light thoughts, something like double (simultaneous) reflection from contrasting acts, etc…
In the second movement 'Antiphon' I used a very attractive idea of a dialogue and a contradistinction, a repetition and an imitation. The antiphon’ method has deep roots in a Greek tragedy, when two choruses gave their permanent comments to the events that happened on the stage. And the scale of the choruses’ emotional reaction was really huge: they were agreed and disagreed, they loved and hated, frightened and bowed, sometimes they even tried to talk down each other…

Duo for cello and piano

Year: 2000

Duration (in minutes): 18'39; 30

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo instrument with piano, solo string with piano

Instruments: any string, cello

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: “Duo” for cello and piano was premiered by the New York Philharmonic cellist Evangeline Benedetti and myself at the piano, then was played by the cellist Christophor Miroshnikov. It has two movements and lasts 18’30. 'Lullaby' was written as a ballad consisting of two alternating, contrasting musical images.
A reworked Gregorian chant is the basis of 'Soliloquy'. The theme, based on the variation mode of development, undergoes a constant transformation: from a passionate monologue to a sharpening scherzo, from an original Perpetuum mobile to a polyphonic climax, where the theme is heard directly from the piano and in a retrograde inversion from the cello, etc.

Solitude

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 6'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo instrument other than piano, solo woodwind instrument

Instruments: any woodwind, flute

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Solitude' has three movements that reflects the mood of solitude. It was premiered by the Met orchestra flutist Stefan Hoskuldsson.

64 1/2 Piano Trio movement

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 2'39;16

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument ensemble, mixed instrument trio, piano trio (vln, vc, pno), small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: cello, piano, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The Piano Trio movement '64 1/2'(based on the Beatles' song "When I Am Sixty Four") is short and jazzy. Always good to have it as an encore.

Trio for soprano, oboe and piano

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 10'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble, solo voice(s) with solo instruments

Instruments: any voice, any woodwind, oboe, piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: Trio for soprano, oboe & piano has two movements: 'Lyric Meditation' and 'Conversation With Bells'. It was premiered at the Tutti Tutti New Music Festival in Ohio. Both trio movements are mostly monothematic. In the first movement (“Lyric Meditation”), the soprano and oboe parts thematically prolong and add to one another, thus forming a “duo of harmony”. At the same time, the piano part serves as a colorful embellishment – the follow of impressionism appears through use of soft, colorful harmonic spots that envelop the melodic intertwinement of the two instruments.
In the second movement (“Conversation with Bells”), the word “Bo-Bom” in the soprano part represents a bell sound, its tinges drastically differing in character, varying from mystically-secretive to tender and quivering, lamenting to joyously victorious, a heavy, measured toll to uplifting holiday chimes. In the climax, the first movement’s oboe theme is played in whole, surrounded by the escalating bell dialogue of the soprano and piano. The coda brings the feeling of peace and quiet – a clear, calm and pure bell sound dissolving somewhere in the distance.


Pantomimes

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 12'39;09

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The piano cycle 'Pantomimes' received its world premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2001 with the pianist Ana Maria Bottazzi. It was also played at the 'New Music North Festival' (Canada) and by the Italian pianist Paolo Vergari.
At its heart are three of history’s most popular figures: Pierrot (Pierrot’s Dreams), Colombine (Colombine’s Fantasy), and Harlequin (Harlequin’s Grimace). Each figure, the invention of the composer’s fantasy, is so intensely felt that it becomes almost visible. A genre expressive of the romantic inclination, the dream is characterisrtic of the entire cycle and is especially appropriate for Pierrot, who is mournful, pessimistic, and generally misunderstood. He passes his time in borderline states between reality and dreams, between disappointment and hope. The motif of the first two measures, which is simple and suggestive of a hurdy-gurdy, sets into motion the variation that, with a descending second, is developed throughout the composition. The variation proceeds through several stages: from a transparent beginning, symbolizing the hero’s submersion in sleep, to a question hanging in the air without an answer; from a yearning to break free from loneliness, to resignation to a lifetime of daydreaming.
At the basis of Colombine’s Fantasy (second movement) are femininity, caprice, and charm. A genuine picture of femininity and fantasies seems to be spun from the short, high-registered inquiring phrases, the free rhythmic flow, and the soft harmonies. In the middle of the work, there arise the elements of the dance-seduction: against an ostinato figure coquettishly spinning incantations appear. A seeming delusion, however, this image, having achieved its apogee, hits up against reality. And then everything turns to the original dreamily contemplative state.
In the third movement, Harlequin’s Grimace, the image of Harlequin is full of tragic irony. Comedy allows him to be ironic and to laugh out loud, to make grimaces and parody each and everyone, including himself. The musical phrases are combined according to the principle of contrast: rhythmic running start and crescendo, followed by a sharp halt. Unexpected accents, rhythmic displacement, and changes in register paint a sharp-angled and eccentric picture. As though mocking the whole world, he becomes so enraged that he takes on an unbelievable tempo, and it seems that his heart will give out and he will drop dead from exhaustion. Constant changes in tempo convey his fickle mood. Yet the fire of his old tricks dies out, and Harlequin takes his ceremonious bow.

Walts-Metamprphoses

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 9'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: orchestra and chamber orchestra

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: In 'Walts-Metamprphoses', the sylistic dance movement, you will hear two music themes (a'la I. Schtrauss and the other one is close to the Russian art song) with all their metamorphoses...

Suite in Stylistic Dances

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 24'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: orchestra and chamber orchestra

Instruments: violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: This is the "Suite in Stylistic Dances" in three movements (Waltz -Metamorphoses, Tango - Memory, Foxtrot - Improvisation) for violin and piano. The “Suite” received its world premiere in 1998 at Bruno Walter Auditorium of the Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic violinist Anna Rabinova and myself at the piano. Each of three dances moves through various moods, invoking a mosaic of images with the development of each individual plot.. THEY ALL are the STYLISTIC DANCES, that's why you'll hear two music themes (a'la I. Schtrauss and the other one is close to the Russian art song) with all their metamorphoses in the first movement - Waltz;
an intro of the second movement appears from daydreams (it's entitled the "Tango" (Memory)), and the 1st section starts from the Tango theme on 7/4 (or some combinations of 4/4 and 3/4), like all other dances the Tango is not a dance that functions as a dance, but using the tango as a form of a dance was only a motive to express some ideas about the passionate love story;
finally, the third movement - Foxtrot (Improvisation or an Orchestra Rehearsal) is a light, jazzy (some sections will remind you even musicals) and humoristic, with the singing along with playing in a coda - my idea was to give a humoristic musical portraiture of one of my American friends, who is a conductor.

Music Stories (based on Chekhov)

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 11'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument ensemble, mixed instrument quintet, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: any brass, any string, any woodwind, bassoon, flute, horn, oboe, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: I wrote my “Music Stories” (based on Chekhov) for baritone and chamber ensemble (flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn and two violins). The world premiere was held in New York, at a series of concerts dedicated to memory of the victims of 9/11 incident in October of 2001. It was performed by Kreshnik Zhabjaku (baritone) and chamber orchestra “One World Symphony”, directed by David Hong.
Two actual stories, written by Chekhov when he was at the age of twenty five, are taken for the basis of “Musical Stories”. These stories were published in a satirical magazine “Oskolki” in St. Petersburg.
The reason I was prompted to write music to Chekhov’s prose is that I’ve always loved to read and reread his work, full of witty humor and lighthearted irony, piercing lyricism and a unique way of story telling.
In addition, it is precisely prose that provides this incomparable freedom of interpretation for the composer, absence of necessity to follow fettering rhythmical patterns. I strongly felt that Chekhov’s stories “My, She” and “Life is Beautiful” have a potential of becoming a true musical monologue, a small mono-play, based on the theatrical principle of development.
Similar to a tight spring, the intrigue in “My, She” keeps the reader wondering until the very end. Only then it is clear that the “She”, who’s “with me day and night…prevents me from reading, writing, enjoying nature…leading to a verge of bankruptcy, this demanding French Coquette…where everything is sacrificed for her: career, fame and comfort…” is nothing else but laziness. It is that same laziness, so loved and nourished by all of us (although we do make pretense that we are trying to confront it), every human being’s predicament (perhaps, a Russian human being especially).
In the second story the writer gives different recipes of how to turn a wretched life into a wonderful one. All one has to do is sincerely rejoice in the knowledge that “it could have been much worse”. He invokes us to be happy no matter what, rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! “If your matches suddenly go off in your pocket, rejoice and offer thanks to Heaven that your pocket is not a gunpowder warehouse… If poor relatives come to pay you visit to your country house, rejoice it is not the police… If you have pain in one tooth, rejoice it is not all your teeth that are aching”. Altogether, “rejoice you are not a pig, nor an ass, nor a bug! Rejoice that at the moment you are nether limp, blind, deaf, mute, nor plague stricken!”
Reading this story, I was thinking that the word rejoice can vary in its interpretation. It can assume different forms, from a direct dictionary meaning to the meaning bitter and sarcastic, suggesting the speaker is sick of life.
More or less, I wanted to experiment with different states inherent to human nature. Especially now, after the 9/11 tragedy, in this strange atmosphere of fears, expectations, and suspicions, Chekhov’s appeal to rejoice every day lived sounds applicable, like never before.

Oh, There Was Such a Life!..

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 15'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Oh, There Was Such a Life!..', a vocal cycle for soprano and piano was written in Russian to the poetry by F. Tyutchev and first performed at the Moscow Autumn Festival.

Caligula

Year: 1995

Duration (in minutes): 57'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Caligula' is the operatic scenes (libretto by I. Tsunsky, based on A. Camu play). It is so called big opera with six main characters, the mixed choir and a lot of ensembles.

Thum Thumb

Year: 1995

Duration (in minutes): 42'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Thum Thumb' is a mono-opera for children written for mezzo-soprano and piano. It is based on the version of the Azerbaidjanian fairy tale 'Dzhyrtdan'.

Poem of Ending (based on Tsvetaeva)

Year: 1994

Duration (in minutes): 42'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Poem of Ending' based on Tsvetaeva's beautiful poetry was written in Russian for soprano and piano. Its genre is a vocal poem.

Six Servants

Year: 1991

Duration (in minutes): 13'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The song cycle “Six Servants” is written to the poems of famous English poets, such as E. Lear, R.L. Stevenson, M. Barrows and R. Kipling for mezzo-soprano or bass-baritone. However, it is quite natural to imagine it performed in soprano or tenor, since the tessitura of the songs allows to transpose without any detriment to the sound.

While creating the music, I saw my task in writing the cycle that would be traditional, melodic and simultaneously rich in images. Each song has its own plot: the first one, ‘The Nutcrackers and Sugar Tongs’ is a humoristic travel account, appealing and full of euphoria, that results from an unexpected feeling of freedom. ‘The Moon’ – conveys the feeling of an all-around moonlight which creates soft muffled images (as if in a lullaby) but also begets very alarming night visions (in the middle part); the third – ‘The Bug’ is close to jazz, which allows to perform it in a swinging manner and even (if one so wishes) add an improvisation in the coda. This one is about a regular bug enjoying his life and who assumes that it’s beautiful to be a part of nature. The fourth one – ‘Six Servants’ is an amusing story dedicated to truly curious creatures who are interested in everything: what, where, when, how and who?

Mother's Lamentation

Year: 1990

Duration (in minutes): 13'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, orchestra and chamber orchestra, string ensemble

Instruments: any string, cello, contrabass, viola, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: In March 2003 “Mother’s Lamentation” (for mezzo-soprano and string orchestra) had a world premiere. It is based on Chingiz Aitmatov’s prose, an excerpt from his great novel “The Day That Lasts More Than a Hundred Years”. At that time I did not have the English version of the text (now I do have), so the American opera singer Leslie Middlebrook sang it in Russian. “One World Symphony Ensemble”, conducted by David Hong performed the work with her. It lasts about 13 minutes.

D. Hong decided to combine the complete stage production of the opera “Dido and Aeneas” by H. Purcell and my “Mother’s Lamentations” in one program. The austere and beautiful “Dido’s Lament” is a 17th century parallel to my “Mother’s Lamentations”, that was written to the beautiful prose by Ch. Aitmatov in the 20th century, a modern approach to the same genre.
It seems, that, despite the difference in the time frames, and musical methods of expression, the tragedy, the pain, the loss of a loved one are felt the same.

Ronny and Bierk

Year: 1988

Duration (in minutes): 87'39;

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: musical theater

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Ronny and Bierk' is a music drama with six main characters based on the Sweden writer A. Lindren's novel 'Ronny, the Robber's Daughter'. It was composed for the children's audience. This work does not have the English translation yet, but I do have a score, a recording of it and a synopsis.

Winnie the Pooh Once Again

Year: 1983

Duration (in minutes): 98'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Winnie the Pooh Once Again' is the two act opera for children with 8 characters/ It was commisioned and premiered at the Moscow State Academic Children's Theater and became a part of its standard repertoire.

Homage, suite for soprano and cello

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: a suite for soprano coloratura (or soprano) and cello in three movements

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-Y5NCHkPV4

Trio for soprano, oboe and piano

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: Trio for soprano, oboe & piano (in two movements) 1. Lyric Meditation, 2. Conversation With Bells

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN2Etc84B6Y

Pantomimes, suite for solo piano

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: A suite for solo piano in three movements: 1. Pierrot's Dreams, 2. Colombine's Fantasy, 3. Harlequin's Grimace

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=autzN4-1ZYI

BIOGRAPHY
The music of Russian-born composer Margarita Zelenaia received its Lincoln Center premiere in 1997 and its Carnegie Hall premiere in 2001. Among her most recent world premieres (2010) was “The Lion that Could not Roar”, a music fairy-tale that was written in collaboration with Robert Sherman, great radio personality from WQXR, and performed by the “Damocles Piano Trio”, clarinetist Pavel Vinnitsky, and Mr. Sherman as a narrator. In 2009 her duo “Homage II” (violin & cello) received its world premiere at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Chicago Chamber Musicians' First Monday concert series and was broadcast live on WFMT Chicago. In 2008 for creation the “Byzantine Chants”, sacred concerto for a Solo Cello Ms. Zelenaia was awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) grants. Then she was invited by Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of music of Cathedral of St. Patrick, to be a quest at the radio show "Sounds from the Spires" (The Catholic Channel SIRIUS 159 XM 117) where Dr. Pascual is a host. One hour program showcased the “Byzantine Chants”. In 2007 she was a recipient of the "Encore" program grant from the American Composers Forum, and a year later her works were being performed at the Kaplan Penthouse Chamber Music Series at Lincoln Center by musicians of the New York Philharmonic. Retaining a close relationship with the famed New York orchestra, her string quartet, "August. Sunset Bloom," was given its world premiere on the Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall series, receiving both critical and audience acclaim. Versatile in genre, the music of Margarita Zelenaia defies stylistic boundaries and ranges from operatic and chamber works, to musical theater and art songs. Without prejudices and stereotypes in her writing, Zelenaia posses a rare ability to infuse her music with humor and lyrical tenderness, while also producing works of tremendous depth and seriousness. Casting aside the stereotypical mold of a "contemporary" composer, Zelenaia is a strong believer in melody and direct audience communication.
Margarita Zelenaia has been commissioned by the musicians of the New York Philharmonic, the Department of Culture of the former USSR, the Department of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Concert Philharmonic Society and the Russian Chamber Orchestra - "The Seasons," among many others. Her recent works are in the performing repertoire of musicians from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, etc., as well as other renowned artists such as concert pianist Ana Maria Bottazzi, concert cellists Christophor Miroshnikov (Russia), Andrey Tchekmazov, Jacob Braun, Italian concert pianist Paolo Vergari, Albanian baritone Kreshnik Zhabjaku, soprano Melanie Mitrano, mezzo-soprano Leslie Middlebrook, concert violinists Nina Beilina, Jasmine Lin, David Fulmer, and Ana Miloslavlevich (Serbia), award-winning clarinetist Sean Rice, One World Symphony Singers & Ensemble, the “Second Instrumental Unit”, ISSA Sonus Ensemble, neoLIT Ensemble, and chamber orchestra "Bacchanalia."
Her two-act comic opera for children Winnie the Pooh Once Again, commissioned by the Moscow State Academic Children's Musical Theatre, has been performed in over 400 major venues in Russia, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Czechoslovakia, becoming a part of Children's Musical Theater's standard repertoire for over 15 years. Excerpts from Zelenaia's musical Alice in Wonderland have sold more than 450,000 copies to date and over 40 performances of her miscellaneous works, including incidental works for TV and movies, have been broadcast in Russia, Israel and the United States. Her vocal cycles, art songs, works for chamber ensembles and piano compositions for children have subsequently been performed at the Moscow Autumn Festival, the Young Peoples' Arts Festival, the Moscow Spring Festival, the Tutti New Music Festival in Ohio, the New Music North (Canada), and the American Composers Alliance Festival (New York), the Summit Music Festival, to name a few.
Zelenaia began her compositions studies at an early age and by the age of 12 hosted her own musical TV program that was broadcast internationally. Recipient of the prestigious Lenin Scholarship, her mentors included Professor Genrich Litinskyi, the former teacher of Aram Khachaturyan. In 2007, the biography of Margarita Zelenaia was included in the 61st Edition of the Who's Who in America and Who's Who Among America Women that feature the career histories and credentials of the country's most accomplished and influential individuals.
She is currently living in Fort Lee, NJ, where she is an active composer and a sought-after educator.
COMPOSITIONS

Homage

Year: 2004

Duration (in minutes): 11'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble, solo voice(s) with solo instruments

Instruments: any string, any voice, cello

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Homage' is a vocal cycle for soprano and cello dedicated to the great Russians and has hree movements: Vocalize (to S. Rakhmaninov), Don Juan (based on Marina Tsvetaeva excerpt from her poem 'Don Juan') and 'Ducks Are Flying', a reworked Russian folk song (to I. Stravinsky).When the cycle was written I realized that it is a meditation on the feelings that any woman has through her life: a dream of the pure beauty (#1.Vocalize), the breathless expectation of the life major event and the disappointed hopes (#2.Don Juan) and a mix of irony and despair through the humoristic sight to what has happened (#3).

Piano Duo cycle

Year: 2001

Duration (in minutes): 18'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: piano, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: Piano Duo cycle has two movements.
The idea of the 'Reflection'(#1) was to express through the music the reflection in many different meanings (inside and outside of us): simply an unclear water reflection, the reflection of dark and light thoughts, something like double (simultaneous) reflection from contrasting acts, etc…
In the second movement 'Antiphon' I used a very attractive idea of a dialogue and a contradistinction, a repetition and an imitation. The antiphon’ method has deep roots in a Greek tragedy, when two choruses gave their permanent comments to the events that happened on the stage. And the scale of the choruses’ emotional reaction was really huge: they were agreed and disagreed, they loved and hated, frightened and bowed, sometimes they even tried to talk down each other…

Duo for cello and piano

Year: 2000

Duration (in minutes): 18'39; 30

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo instrument with piano, solo string with piano

Instruments: any string, cello

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: “Duo” for cello and piano was premiered by the New York Philharmonic cellist Evangeline Benedetti and myself at the piano, then was played by the cellist Christophor Miroshnikov. It has two movements and lasts 18’30. 'Lullaby' was written as a ballad consisting of two alternating, contrasting musical images.
A reworked Gregorian chant is the basis of 'Soliloquy'. The theme, based on the variation mode of development, undergoes a constant transformation: from a passionate monologue to a sharpening scherzo, from an original Perpetuum mobile to a polyphonic climax, where the theme is heard directly from the piano and in a retrograde inversion from the cello, etc.

Solitude

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 6'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo instrument other than piano, solo woodwind instrument

Instruments: any woodwind, flute

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Solitude' has three movements that reflects the mood of solitude. It was premiered by the Met orchestra flutist Stefan Hoskuldsson.

64 1/2 Piano Trio movement

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 2'39;16

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument ensemble, mixed instrument trio, piano trio (vln, vc, pno), small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: cello, piano, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The Piano Trio movement '64 1/2'(based on the Beatles' song "When I Am Sixty Four") is short and jazzy. Always good to have it as an encore.

Trio for soprano, oboe and piano

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 10'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble, solo voice(s) with solo instruments

Instruments: any voice, any woodwind, oboe, piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: Trio for soprano, oboe & piano has two movements: 'Lyric Meditation' and 'Conversation With Bells'. It was premiered at the Tutti Tutti New Music Festival in Ohio. Both trio movements are mostly monothematic. In the first movement (“Lyric Meditation”), the soprano and oboe parts thematically prolong and add to one another, thus forming a “duo of harmony”. At the same time, the piano part serves as a colorful embellishment – the follow of impressionism appears through use of soft, colorful harmonic spots that envelop the melodic intertwinement of the two instruments.
In the second movement (“Conversation with Bells”), the word “Bo-Bom” in the soprano part represents a bell sound, its tinges drastically differing in character, varying from mystically-secretive to tender and quivering, lamenting to joyously victorious, a heavy, measured toll to uplifting holiday chimes. In the climax, the first movement’s oboe theme is played in whole, surrounded by the escalating bell dialogue of the soprano and piano. The coda brings the feeling of peace and quiet – a clear, calm and pure bell sound dissolving somewhere in the distance.


Pantomimes

Year: 1998

Duration (in minutes): 12'39;09

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The piano cycle 'Pantomimes' received its world premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2001 with the pianist Ana Maria Bottazzi. It was also played at the 'New Music North Festival' (Canada) and by the Italian pianist Paolo Vergari.
At its heart are three of history’s most popular figures: Pierrot (Pierrot’s Dreams), Colombine (Colombine’s Fantasy), and Harlequin (Harlequin’s Grimace). Each figure, the invention of the composer’s fantasy, is so intensely felt that it becomes almost visible. A genre expressive of the romantic inclination, the dream is characterisrtic of the entire cycle and is especially appropriate for Pierrot, who is mournful, pessimistic, and generally misunderstood. He passes his time in borderline states between reality and dreams, between disappointment and hope. The motif of the first two measures, which is simple and suggestive of a hurdy-gurdy, sets into motion the variation that, with a descending second, is developed throughout the composition. The variation proceeds through several stages: from a transparent beginning, symbolizing the hero’s submersion in sleep, to a question hanging in the air without an answer; from a yearning to break free from loneliness, to resignation to a lifetime of daydreaming.
At the basis of Colombine’s Fantasy (second movement) are femininity, caprice, and charm. A genuine picture of femininity and fantasies seems to be spun from the short, high-registered inquiring phrases, the free rhythmic flow, and the soft harmonies. In the middle of the work, there arise the elements of the dance-seduction: against an ostinato figure coquettishly spinning incantations appear. A seeming delusion, however, this image, having achieved its apogee, hits up against reality. And then everything turns to the original dreamily contemplative state.
In the third movement, Harlequin’s Grimace, the image of Harlequin is full of tragic irony. Comedy allows him to be ironic and to laugh out loud, to make grimaces and parody each and everyone, including himself. The musical phrases are combined according to the principle of contrast: rhythmic running start and crescendo, followed by a sharp halt. Unexpected accents, rhythmic displacement, and changes in register paint a sharp-angled and eccentric picture. As though mocking the whole world, he becomes so enraged that he takes on an unbelievable tempo, and it seems that his heart will give out and he will drop dead from exhaustion. Constant changes in tempo convey his fickle mood. Yet the fire of his old tricks dies out, and Harlequin takes his ceremonious bow.

Walts-Metamprphoses

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 9'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: orchestra and chamber orchestra

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: In 'Walts-Metamprphoses', the sylistic dance movement, you will hear two music themes (a'la I. Schtrauss and the other one is close to the Russian art song) with all their metamorphoses...

Suite in Stylistic Dances

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 24'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: orchestra and chamber orchestra

Instruments: violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: This is the "Suite in Stylistic Dances" in three movements (Waltz -Metamorphoses, Tango - Memory, Foxtrot - Improvisation) for violin and piano. The “Suite” received its world premiere in 1998 at Bruno Walter Auditorium of the Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic violinist Anna Rabinova and myself at the piano. Each of three dances moves through various moods, invoking a mosaic of images with the development of each individual plot.. THEY ALL are the STYLISTIC DANCES, that's why you'll hear two music themes (a'la I. Schtrauss and the other one is close to the Russian art song) with all their metamorphoses in the first movement - Waltz;
an intro of the second movement appears from daydreams (it's entitled the "Tango" (Memory)), and the 1st section starts from the Tango theme on 7/4 (or some combinations of 4/4 and 3/4), like all other dances the Tango is not a dance that functions as a dance, but using the tango as a form of a dance was only a motive to express some ideas about the passionate love story;
finally, the third movement - Foxtrot (Improvisation or an Orchestra Rehearsal) is a light, jazzy (some sections will remind you even musicals) and humoristic, with the singing along with playing in a coda - my idea was to give a humoristic musical portraiture of one of my American friends, who is a conductor.

Music Stories (based on Chekhov)

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 11'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument ensemble, mixed instrument quintet, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players

Instruments: any brass, any string, any woodwind, bassoon, flute, horn, oboe, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: I wrote my “Music Stories” (based on Chekhov) for baritone and chamber ensemble (flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn and two violins). The world premiere was held in New York, at a series of concerts dedicated to memory of the victims of 9/11 incident in October of 2001. It was performed by Kreshnik Zhabjaku (baritone) and chamber orchestra “One World Symphony”, directed by David Hong.
Two actual stories, written by Chekhov when he was at the age of twenty five, are taken for the basis of “Musical Stories”. These stories were published in a satirical magazine “Oskolki” in St. Petersburg.
The reason I was prompted to write music to Chekhov’s prose is that I’ve always loved to read and reread his work, full of witty humor and lighthearted irony, piercing lyricism and a unique way of story telling.
In addition, it is precisely prose that provides this incomparable freedom of interpretation for the composer, absence of necessity to follow fettering rhythmical patterns. I strongly felt that Chekhov’s stories “My, She” and “Life is Beautiful” have a potential of becoming a true musical monologue, a small mono-play, based on the theatrical principle of development.
Similar to a tight spring, the intrigue in “My, She” keeps the reader wondering until the very end. Only then it is clear that the “She”, who’s “with me day and night…prevents me from reading, writing, enjoying nature…leading to a verge of bankruptcy, this demanding French Coquette…where everything is sacrificed for her: career, fame and comfort…” is nothing else but laziness. It is that same laziness, so loved and nourished by all of us (although we do make pretense that we are trying to confront it), every human being’s predicament (perhaps, a Russian human being especially).
In the second story the writer gives different recipes of how to turn a wretched life into a wonderful one. All one has to do is sincerely rejoice in the knowledge that “it could have been much worse”. He invokes us to be happy no matter what, rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! “If your matches suddenly go off in your pocket, rejoice and offer thanks to Heaven that your pocket is not a gunpowder warehouse… If poor relatives come to pay you visit to your country house, rejoice it is not the police… If you have pain in one tooth, rejoice it is not all your teeth that are aching”. Altogether, “rejoice you are not a pig, nor an ass, nor a bug! Rejoice that at the moment you are nether limp, blind, deaf, mute, nor plague stricken!”
Reading this story, I was thinking that the word rejoice can vary in its interpretation. It can assume different forms, from a direct dictionary meaning to the meaning bitter and sarcastic, suggesting the speaker is sick of life.
More or less, I wanted to experiment with different states inherent to human nature. Especially now, after the 9/11 tragedy, in this strange atmosphere of fears, expectations, and suspicions, Chekhov’s appeal to rejoice every day lived sounds applicable, like never before.

Oh, There Was Such a Life!..

Year: 1997

Duration (in minutes): 15'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Oh, There Was Such a Life!..', a vocal cycle for soprano and piano was written in Russian to the poetry by F. Tyutchev and first performed at the Moscow Autumn Festival.

Caligula

Year: 1995

Duration (in minutes): 57'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Caligula' is the operatic scenes (libretto by I. Tsunsky, based on A. Camu play). It is so called big opera with six main characters, the mixed choir and a lot of ensembles.

Thum Thumb

Year: 1995

Duration (in minutes): 42'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Thum Thumb' is a mono-opera for children written for mezzo-soprano and piano. It is based on the version of the Azerbaidjanian fairy tale 'Dzhyrtdan'.

Poem of Ending (based on Tsvetaeva)

Year: 1994

Duration (in minutes): 42'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Poem of Ending' based on Tsvetaeva's beautiful poetry was written in Russian for soprano and piano. Its genre is a vocal poem.

Six Servants

Year: 1991

Duration (in minutes): 13'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: solo voice(s) with piano

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: The song cycle “Six Servants” is written to the poems of famous English poets, such as E. Lear, R.L. Stevenson, M. Barrows and R. Kipling for mezzo-soprano or bass-baritone. However, it is quite natural to imagine it performed in soprano or tenor, since the tessitura of the songs allows to transpose without any detriment to the sound.

While creating the music, I saw my task in writing the cycle that would be traditional, melodic and simultaneously rich in images. Each song has its own plot: the first one, ‘The Nutcrackers and Sugar Tongs’ is a humoristic travel account, appealing and full of euphoria, that results from an unexpected feeling of freedom. ‘The Moon’ – conveys the feeling of an all-around moonlight which creates soft muffled images (as if in a lullaby) but also begets very alarming night visions (in the middle part); the third – ‘The Bug’ is close to jazz, which allows to perform it in a swinging manner and even (if one so wishes) add an improvisation in the coda. This one is about a regular bug enjoying his life and who assumes that it’s beautiful to be a part of nature. The fourth one – ‘Six Servants’ is an amusing story dedicated to truly curious creatures who are interested in everything: what, where, when, how and who?

Mother's Lamentation

Year: 1990

Duration (in minutes): 13'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, orchestra and chamber orchestra, string ensemble

Instruments: any string, cello, contrabass, viola, violin

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: In March 2003 “Mother’s Lamentation” (for mezzo-soprano and string orchestra) had a world premiere. It is based on Chingiz Aitmatov’s prose, an excerpt from his great novel “The Day That Lasts More Than a Hundred Years”. At that time I did not have the English version of the text (now I do have), so the American opera singer Leslie Middlebrook sang it in Russian. “One World Symphony Ensemble”, conducted by David Hong performed the work with her. It lasts about 13 minutes.

D. Hong decided to combine the complete stage production of the opera “Dido and Aeneas” by H. Purcell and my “Mother’s Lamentations” in one program. The austere and beautiful “Dido’s Lament” is a 17th century parallel to my “Mother’s Lamentations”, that was written to the beautiful prose by Ch. Aitmatov in the 20th century, a modern approach to the same genre.
It seems, that, despite the difference in the time frames, and musical methods of expression, the tragedy, the pain, the loss of a loved one are felt the same.

Ronny and Bierk

Year: 1988

Duration (in minutes): 87'39;

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: musical theater

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Ronny and Bierk' is a music drama with six main characters based on the Sweden writer A. Lindren's novel 'Ronny, the Robber's Daughter'. It was composed for the children's audience. This work does not have the English translation yet, but I do have a score, a recording of it and a synopsis.

Winnie the Pooh Once Again

Year: 1983

Duration (in minutes): 98'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: opera

Publisher: Self-Produced

Description: 'Winnie the Pooh Once Again' is the two act opera for children with 8 characters/ It was commisioned and premiered at the Moscow State Academic Children's Theater and became a part of its standard repertoire.

CDs
VIDEOS

Homage, suite for soprano and cello

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: a suite for soprano coloratura (or soprano) and cello in three movements

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-Y5NCHkPV4

Trio for soprano, oboe and piano

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: Trio for soprano, oboe & piano (in two movements) 1. Lyric Meditation, 2. Conversation With Bells

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN2Etc84B6Y

Pantomimes, suite for solo piano

Composer: Margarita Zelenaia

Description: A suite for solo piano in three movements: 1. Pierrot's Dreams, 2. Colombine's Fantasy, 3. Harlequin's Grimace

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=autzN4-1ZYI

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