Miller Endowment Visitor 2023-24

Ilya Demutsky

George A. Miller Visiting Artist

Ilya Demutsky is an award-winning composer, performer and conductor. His works include compositions for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, as well as electronic and film music. His commissions/productions extend to Chicago, San Francisco, Sidney, Paris, TelAviv and beyond. Ilya currently resides in France, to distance himself from Putin's regime and remain connected to international collaborators and institutions. He is the author of 4 full length ballets: A Hero of Our Time, Optimistic Tragedy, Nureyev and Anna Karenina.

Demutsky’s music for the full-length ballet A Hero of Our Time at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow won him Russia's most coveted theatrical award, the Golden Mask, for Best Composer in Musical Theatre, and the production was named Best Ballet Production of 2015/2016. In January 2017, San Francisco Ballet opened its new season with the world premiere of his ballet Optimistic Tragedy, and the same year ended with the highly anticipated opening of the full-length ballet Nureyev at the Bolshoi in December 2017. Nureyev won four Prix Benois 2018 awards, including best composer's work in ballet.

In 2019, the Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet commissioned a new full-length orchestral score from Ilya Demutsky for an entirely new "story ballet" based on Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the first full-length commission in the Joffrey's history. It is touring U.S. again this year, with performances in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to sold out houses. For his score to Kirill Serebrennikov's film The Student, Demutsky was named European Composer of 2016 by the European Film Academy. The full-length ballet The Seagull, commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre (premiered in July 2021), recently won the Golden Mask and BraVo Awards for Best Ballet.

Among Demutsky’s recent works is music for the world opening of the full-length oratorio project The Last Day of an Eternal City, a choral polyphonic experiment combining Latin, Italian, and Russian texts. One of Putin’s most powerful opponents served as fodder for the character of a political prisoner in a story set during the Roman Empire--a satirically allusive piece both entertaining and politically charged. Commissioned by the Moscow State Chamber Choir, the production opened against pandemic uncertainties to a sold-out audience on November 11, 2021, in Moscow’s largest and newest concert hall, Zaryad’e.

Demutsky composed the music for the world opening of the play The Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, the only play written by the revered Israeli writer Meir Shalev, opened at Gesher Theatre in Tel Aviv in June 2023, directed by Amit Epstein. Demutsky has a long successful history of collaboration with UIUC, where his work was workshopped and premiered in 2017 and 2023, in collaboration with LyricTheatre @ Illinois and Theatre students.