a tribute to Susan Allen
Susan Allen & Kamil Tchalaev improvising at Pokaz 10,
Susie and I met through Sergey Letov. Born in 1956, this famous saxophonist, a staple in the Russian musical landscape, is in a way the bearded and hairy archetype of the FREE or IMPROVISED MUSIC personality.
According to the testimony of the composer Roman Stolyar, Susan planned to make an unprecedented crossing of free musical Russia on a Trans-Siberian train, with stops in different cities and concerts with musicians never met before. Susie typed in Google search for 'free music in Siberia' and stumbled upon Roman Stolyar, based in Novosibirsk, who introduced her to Sergey Letov.
Susan Allen, Sergey Letov and bass trumpetist/singer Kirichenko played as a trio, at the Yaroslavsky train station of Moscow; then they went by train to Novosibirsk, where they gave a concert; the following day, Susan recorded the album "Trialog" (Ermatell Records), with Roman Stolyar and the percussionist Sergey Belichenko, which can be heard here.
When Susan came to Paris, we often improvised together at Acer Russie.
Kamil Tchalaev is a composer, a musician, a teacher and the co-founder, in 1992, of the Ecole Sauvage NALi. Born in Moscow in 1962, he was, as early as 1966, a student of Yakov Kaploun, composer, conductor and violinist, viola solo at the Bolshoi Theatre where he also taught violin and theory. Tchalaev then studied at the Central School of Music and at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Bass singing, harmony, conducting). He was involved in the vanguard musical scene of Moscow’s Perestroika era. An instrumentalist at the Lenkom Theater, then at Anatoli Vassiliev’s Theatre-School of Dramatic Arts he toured internationally (France, Cuba, Yugoslavia). In 1992, 2002 and 2007, he composed original music for the two most prestigious theaters in Paris : the Comédie Française and the Odéon. Alongside university studies in theology, he studied at IRCAM under Pierre Boulez and at the Sorbonne’s EPHE under Jean Rouch.
Tchalaev is a bass singer and musical advisor to Accentus, Ensemble Intercontemporain (1995-2010), Séquence (Geneva). He has performed in Concerts, as part of the ensemble or as a soloist in Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Israel, Turkey, Latin America, and the USA.
He has developed his own sign language teaching method for persons with motor disabilities and elaborates workshop methods adapted to autism. In cooperation with Laurent Zakowsky, master violin maker of Orléans, he invented and implemented an height-string tandem violin — the Violik — allowing to switch from right to left on the same instrument / computing unit.