Iosif Andriasov, Composer/Philosopher

Iosif Andriasov (Ovsep Andreasian) was a composer-symphonist, a moral philosopher, and a teacher. He was born in Moscow on April 7, 1933, to an Armenian family. His father, Arshak Andriasov, was an economist; his mother, Maria Bedjanova-Andriasova, was an artist. He began to play the piano and compose at the age of three; at five, entered musical school as a violin student, and then studied composition with Grant Grigorian and Grigory Frid. In 1963, with his First symphony, I. Andriasov graduated from the Peter I. Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory, where he studied composition with Professor Evgeny Golubev. E. Golubev, a pupil of the great Russian symphonist Nikolai Myaskovsky, passed the musical traditions of the Moscow composition school to Iosif Andriasov (P. I. Tchaikovsky - S. I. Taneev - N. Y. Myaskovsky). In 1964, Mr. Andriasov became a member of the Soviet Composers’ Union on the recommendation of Dmitri Shostakovich, who said of him: “When the entire world lost a sense of harmony, composer Iosif Andriasov has not only not lost this sense, but added to harmony a new quality”. During the late 1960s - 1970s, Mr. Andriasov would become a Consulting Composer of the Union, a member of the editorial board of the “Muzyka” International Publishing House, and a consultant to the Head of the music department at the USSR All-State Radio and Television.

Iosif Andriasov was a composer of the 1960s generation whose creative activities began in the period of the Khrushchev “thaw”. His contemporaries were E. Denisov, S. Gubaidulina, A. Schnittke, A. Part, B. Tishchenko, and other composers of the Shostakovich and post-Shostakovich era. I. Andriasov composed various types of music: lyrical and dramatic, humorous and tragic, ecstatic and mystical. He created an original, Andriasov’s compositional style, direct and pure, that assimilated the traits of the Armenian, Russian, and Western-European cultures. His music is deeply spiritual in nature. To Mr. Andriasov, the timeless beauty of the spiritual world was not an unattainable romantic ideal but a reality. His motto was not to fight evil with evil, but illuminate evil with Beauty.

Mr. Andriasov had a unique talent of the spiritual and musical clairvoyance. He displayed it in his Second symphony, written in 1971. Here, Mr. Andriasov created an artistic model of the universal state in which, according to his words, “various cultures (Armenian, Slavic, Western European, Russian, African, and American), interacting, harmonize with one another, enriching one another with virtues”. His achievements in music led Iosif Andriasov to discover the laws of the spiritual world and to create the “Science on Morality”, one part of which was a Periodic System of Spiritual Virtues that was analogous to Dmitry Mendeleev Periodic System.

In 1973, Iosif Andriasov wrote a book of aphorisms “To My Friends”; his Second Symphony was premiered at the Moscow Composers’ Plenum. In the same year, he traveled to Yerevan, Armenia, to the Composers’ Congress, by an invitation of the Armenian Composers’ Union. The Head of the Armenian-Gregorian Church, Vazgen the First, Catolikos of All Armenians, awarded Mr. Andriasov the Special Charter with Recognition and Blessing for his contributions to music and ethics.

In 1974, for his Second Symphony, I. Andriasov won the Soviet Composers' Competition to present Soviet music at the USSR National Celebration. On October 22, 1974, his Second Symphony, together with the Fifth Symphony by P. Tchaikovsky and the Third Piano Concerto by S. Prokofiev, was performed at a special gala concert, which was broadcast throughout the Soviet Union and European countries. The Second Symphony has received an international acclaim.

The Soviet authorities showed a keen interest in the philosophical ideas of Mr. Andriasov. They asked him to put his ideas under the Marxism-Leninism ideology; offered him to sell them the “Science on Morality“, as a relic; asked him: “Help us make Leonid Brezhnev “the peacemaker“, and we will give you the world‘s glory of a composer!”. In 1974, the Ministry of Culture offered Mr. Andriasov the position of the Head of the Special Committee on Music and Moral Matters to the USSR General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. I. Andriasov declined the position. Then, he was asked by another senior official if he would accept the Soviet government’s most prestigious honor, the Lenin Prize. Mr. Andriasov rejected that as well, stating: "By accepting a reward from criminals, one becomes an accomplice to the criminals”.

Since 1979, Iosif Andriasov lived with his family in New York City, USA, where he came upon agreement between the Soviet and American governments. After I. Andriasov left the Soviet Union, his name disappeared from repertoire of all USSR performers; the tapes of his music at the USSR Radio were destroyed, and the copies of all his compositions, which were in the possession of the Library of the Moscow Music Fund, disappeared. Mr. Andriasov was not a political dissident; he negated all manifestations of “slave-master morality” such as totalitarianism, Nazism, chauvinism, world domination, cult of personality, and so on. In his life, music, and philosophy he asserted “morality of the free individuals” (I. Andriasov).

I. Andriasov was a man of high humanistic ideals, uncompromised standards, of spiritual independence and human dignity. He was a genuine altruist and heroic personality. The human qualities of Iosif Andriasov are reflected in his music. His music is compassionate, caring, emotionally sincere, honest, courageous, noble, tender, expressive.

Iosif Andriasov is the author of symphonic, chamber, vocal compositions out of which thirty two (32) are marked with the opus number. Mr. Andriasov is the author of works in the field of philosophy and ethics, including "To My Friends", the book of aphorisms, and "Treatise on the Spiritual World", the main thesis: "Negation of slave-master morality and assertion of morality of the free individuals".

Mr. Andriasov was a person with a wide scope of interests. He was interested in philosophy, religion, science, poetry, art, and sport. He attended the lectures at the Moscow Michael V. Lomonosov State University, Department of Biology (Professor Leonid V. Kudryashov); studied conducting; was an expert in the use of the “Finale” computer program; was a boxer, yogist, target shooter (four gold medals), inventor, and the first dan karateka of the North-American Japan Karate Association.

Iosif Andriasov was a teacher who created a new school of the performing art, based on the “spiritual virtues”. He taught a great number of musicians: composers, conductors, pianists, violinists, violists, cellists, and others (never took payment for the lessons), in the Soviet Union, Europe, and in the U. S. He influenced artists, writers, poets, directors. He communicated with people from various backgrounds and helped them to try to become “free individuals”.

In the U.S., I. Andriasov wrote new music compositions, made complete revisions of his main compositions and continued to work on his philosophical ideas. He prepared his works for publication by the IMMA Publishing Co., which he planned to open. In 1994, Asahi TV, a major Japanese broadcasting company, produced a documentary film about Mr. Andriasov and his remarkable contribution to the world's culture. Iosif Andriasov was selected among two thousand of the world's most prominent people as the "International Man of the Year" for the Year 2000-2001 by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge, UK in recognition for his outstanding work in music and ethics.

Mr. Andriasov’s compositions have been performed and recorded by many orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists; performed at various festivals; broadcast over radio stations; published by “Muzyka”, “Sovetsky Kompozitor” Publishing Houses; catalogued by Peters - Belaieff - Litolf Musikverlag Publishing House (Frankfurt, Germany); released on “Melodiya” and “Deutsche Grammophon” records; commissioned by the Ministries of Culture of the USSR, the Russian Republic, and by RIAS (Berlin). Since 2001, Iosif Andriasov’s compositions are published exclusively by IMMA Publishing Co., New York which is owned by his wife, Marta Andriasova (Kudryashova). In 2003, IMMA Records became the exclusive recording label releasing Mr. Andriasov’s compositions. His son, Arshak Andriasov, owns IMMA Records.

Iosif Andriasov wrote music characterized by enormous beauty, depth of its spiritual virtues, expressed through the richness of emotions, sophisticated construction and profound altruistic ideas. His musical art creates a multi-dimensional spiritual, intellectual, and emotional world that awakens creativity in people.

Copyright by Marta Andriasova (Marina Kudryashova), 2007.

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