IGOR FROLOV (b 1937 )
Igor Alexandrovich Frolov was born in Moscow in 1937, the son of a violin teacher and conductor, who also held the position of first violin in the State Radio Symphony Orchestra. His mother was an accompanist at the Moscow Conservatory in the classes of David Oistrakh and Abram Yampolsky. At the age of five he began studying with a well-known Soviet pedagogue Boris Belenky, and in 1955 he entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he continued his studies with one of the founders of the Soviet violin school, Abram Yampolsky, and completed his musical education in the class of David Oistrakh in 1965.
Frolov’s performing career began in 1957 when, as a second-year student at the Conservatory, he won the International Youth and Student Festival Competition. The ensuing years brought success in both national and international competitions: he was one of the finalists at the All-Union Violin Competition in 1959, the International Enescu Competition in Bucharest in 1961, and the International Marguerite Long and Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris in 1967.
His concert career has taken him across the then Soviet Union and Russia several times, playing in the most prestigious concert halls, from Moscow to small towns of Baikal-on-Amur. He is also a frequent guest at concert venues in Spain, India, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Great Britain, and all former Socialist countries. He is the artistic director and conductor of the Moscow Camerata, founded by Igor Zhukov in the 1990s.
Frolov never studied composition formally, but he began to compose on the advice of Oistrakh, who suggested a new cadenza to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. Frolov came up with three different cadenzas, but that attempt was the first and last for many years: his first composition appeared only in 1989. Although he grew up in the classical tradition, he remembers liking jazz from his childhood. When he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory, jazz was banned and it was practically impossible to obtain recordings, but Frolov went to screenings of foreign films and, on his return home, would attempt to recreate the harmonies and improvisations of his favourite melodies. Interest in this style has stayed with him throughout his life, and the elements of jazz can be found in many of his compositions. His thorough knowledge of the violin from a performer’s perspective ensures that all his works are well written for the instrument. His compositions and arrangements for one and two violins and piano are frequently performed in Russia and abroad, by such violinists as Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin among many others.