About Dina Smorgonskaya

Sing, My Lyre!

Dina Smorgonskaya (Vitebsk, 1947, dina.smorgonskaya@gmail.com ) is one of Israel’s most
prominent composers. Immigrating to Israel in 1989 from the former USSR, she brought with
her her mastery of a broad spectrum of styles and genres, together with her own music
personality – both featuring the rich artistic tradition of St. Petersburg, whose school she proudly represents. Among her mentors were such respected Russian-Soviet composers as
Boris Arapov and Vadim Salmanov. Her major works from her Russian period include Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (1980) and the ballet suite Peter Pan and Wendy
for woodwind and strings (1987), as well as song cycles on poems by Marina Tsvetaeva (1976), Alexander Block (1982) and Mikhail Lermontov (1988), composed for voice with various ensembles. Film and incidental music also comprised an important part of her work. Arriving in Israel in 1989, Dina began to write for Israeli performers, although continuing to remain in demand in Russia and maintaining her Russian contacts. During a
period of almost three decades she wrote several major works, including a chamber opera The
Stationsmaster (1999, after A. Pushkin’s story), Concerto for Piano and Strings (1999),
Triptych for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1997, versions for various ensembles 2002, 2003),
Pentastych – five poems in five languages for soprano and piano (1995), and Spanish Lace, a
suite for strings based on Ladino songs (2011).
Finding an appreciative audience in her new/ancient homeland, Dina Smorgonskaya was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Composers in 2005. Greatly valued also in Russia, her music is still performed there, as well as in the USA, Canada and other countries. Whatever the genre in which Smorgonskaya works, or whether the images are of a lyrical or rebellious spirit, her compositions are distinguished by a classical clarity of musical ideas, refined associative metaphors and a strict perfection of form. Not restrained to any of the “modern” techniques, she offers artistic designs in whatever musical expression they require.
This album, Sing, My Lyre!, represents mostly a chamber music selection from Smorgonskaya’s legacy, both instrumental and vocal, as well as including one of her choral compositions. The prevailing mood of these scores is one of a delicate shyness and reverence for the beauty of poetry and the arts, at times suggestive of contemplation, while often referring to images of the baroque epoch. Smorgonskaya creates an emotional, personal, artistic dialogue with the poetry and arts of the past, from which she seems to draw inspiration. A positive and warm aura colours her tones and conveys a meditative quiet wisdom that seems to offer a companion to the arts, existing whether in reality or in our memory.