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Yury Kazakov history
Historical articles about the life, history and career of Mr. Kazakov.

Born december 24 1924. Passed away on may 06 2019.

By Ivor Beynon, England (1954)

Born into a family of musicians in Archangel, 1924, Yuri Kazakov was introduced to the piano and to the accordion at an early age. In 1942 he joined the Soviet Navy and before long was a leading member of a musical ensemble aboard his ship inthe North Fleet.

During those years he was often heard by American and British seamen who had made the long supply run to Archangel and other ports in Northern Russia. Since wars end, Kazakov has worked with the Philharmonic Society of Archangelsk, made extensive tours of the U.S.S.R. playing varied programs (which have included Chaikin's Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra), and is now pursuing his musical studies at the State Musical Institute "Gnessin" in Moscow.

Yuri Kazakovs glittering technique and unusual artistry will be quickly recognized by those familiar with the accordion, particularly in his use of bellows control comparable to the bowing of a violinist, in the opening "Variations" with the theme so well known to Americans in the popular song, "Yes, My Darling Daughter"; in his bellows shake, employed so immaculately in the "Melodies from Archangel"; and in his contrapuntal playing, which may lead some listeners to think that two instruments are being used.


Unknown writer, Russia

In the group of concert bayanists, Peoples Artist of the U.S.S.R. , Yuri Kazakov is known as one of the founders of a new musical area in Sovied culture, an area that links amateur playing with professional art. Yuri Kazakovs choice of his vocation was stimulated by the family tradition. A playbill of the thirties reads: "Ivan Kazakov - solo on the bayan". The inscription is dollowed by some photos of a handsome man of artistic appearance. On one photo he is dressed in a somewhat stylized Russian national costume, while on another photo he appears before us in a dinnerjacket and bowtie. This is Yuris father, whom he always held in high esteem and aspired to imitate in all things.

Talented youth
Yuri manifested a talent for music very early and when he was seven he made his first public appearance, but at this concert he played the piano and not the bayan. At the musical school he studied in the piano class and bayan playing was merely a secondary activity. By the way, his father allowed him to play his bayan, which is now kept in ,the Glinka Museum of Musical Instruments in Moscow, only on rare occasions, as a reward for Yuris diligence in studies.

Nevertheless the boy grew up with a strong conviction that he would one day become a bayanist. During the war Yuri Kazakov was a soloist and leader of the group of bayanists in the ensemble of the North Fleet. Yuri Kazakov gave many concerts for the troops and seamen, often as not under fire, and it was in these difficult years that his musical career began. His first rewards for his crea-tive work were the Order of the Red Star and a number of medals for distinguished service at the front. The bayanist gave six hundred concerts, some of which were solo ,recitals, at the front. Some days he would give up to eight performances and at night he would work on new programmes.

The creative biography of the musician has one outstanding trait: Yuri Kazakov is always the first to come up with something new and original and fhe emergence of the bayan as a solo concert instrument is associated wit,h his name. In 1952 the bayanist, who was ad that time a soloist of the Arkhangelsk Philharmonic, toured the Russian Federation and two years later he gave his first concerts in Moscow. In Warsaw, in 1955 the bayanist won the gold medal and the 1st class Diploma at the International Competition of Performers on Folk Instruments and his occasion marked the beginning of the worldwide fame of the Russian bayan.

Yuri Kazakov has toured thirty countries, including England, France, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Canacda, all the socialist countries, Vietnam and the coun-tries of Latin America: Cuba, Chile, Mexico, etc. Recalling a joint visit to England in 1954, Aram Khachaturian wrote the following in his article "Inspired Mastership": At first I assumed that Yuri Kazakov was included into our team as a kind of tribute do the exotic for foreign audiences would expect something specifically Russian from artists who came from Russia.

Success in Great Britain
Unexpectedly the bayan proved to be a tremendous success. In Kazakovs hands it sang and rumbled, like an organ, filling the great hall with powerful sounds. The remarkabIe talent of the musician and his repertory, which is unusual for a bayanist, immediately made Kazakov a very popular man on the British Isles. I, too, felt that Kazakov induced me to change my attitude to the bayan. Remaining a favourite folk instrument, the bayan is asserting itself on the peak of musical Olympus. The bayan has reached maturity and taken the place it deserves in "big music" and this should be put down to the credit of Yuri Kazakov and other likeminded musicians".

Tchaikin concerto
Already in 1955, in a radio and later in a TV studio, Kazakov recorded the Concerto for the bayan and symphony orchestra by N. Chaikin and the Toccata and fugue in D Minor by Bach, which is fo this day considered to be the finest bayan interpretation of Bach. In 1957 the bayanist appeared in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and established a new form of musical performance: the solo bayan concert. Thus for the first time in the history of music the bayan gained equal rights with classic concert instruments.

The reviews of the Soviet and foreign press and statements of professional musicians, critics and representatives of the public, taken together would make up a thick volume. Some people speak of the poetic inspiredness of his playing and of his ability to make the musical phrase breathe, others admire his subtle performance and good taste. Dwelling on the bayanists performance composer Rodion Schedrin said: "Kazakov is an excellent musician and a fervent advocate of classic and contemporary music. I especially want to remark upon ,his unselfish endeavour to draw the attention of broad sections of the public, musical circles in particular, to the bayan".

It is very touching when after a concert, say, 300 or 400 people usually come up to the player asking him to tell them the secret of his mastership and send him notes of the kind we quote here. "We are schoolchildren, who have come to hear you from a village near Kemerovo. There 75 of us here. We want to listen to you play as long as possible. Today you have revealed to us the world of music, it is a real festival for us". What is the secret of his art? It is, first of all talent, multipled by industriousness; he is a devotee of the bayan.

Music as language
Yuri Kazakov states: "My ideal is for converse with people through the bayan. I aspire to convey my sense of the truth of life through a live, expressive phrase. I want to bring the beauty of music to everyone and speak to people in a language that would be equally comprencible both to the farmer and the academician". Kazakov is ever in quest of new discoveries.

Freebass accordion
Already in 1951 he constructed a multitimbre bayan of a more sophisticated design, i. e. with "readymade" triads and the seventh chords in the accompaniment and a full chromatic scale in the bass, which opened many new opportunities for the performer making it possible to qualitatively replenish the repertory for the instrument with models of world classical music, old music and oniginal arrangements of folk melodies of many countries of the world.

Yuri Kazakov has also manifested himself to be a composer with a bent for folkloristic music and his efforts in acquainting listeners with the delightful melodies of the Russian North deserve special mention. His "Fantasia on the themes of two Northern folk songs" ("The sun rises" and "At Katushas place") and "Russian Northern folk tunes" represent an appreciable contribution into Russian folk music while his wonderful and adroit arrangement of the Ukrainian folk song "A Cossack rode" is, essentially, an integral and original composition.

Y. Kazakov was the first bayanist to play works of world classical music of different periods in their original version: organ works by Mozart two fantasias and Andante), etudes by Chopin, pieces by Liszt, The Paganini, Schumann Caprices, the graceful miniatures of the French harpichordists, the compositions of Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Liadov and Grieg. The musician's interpretations of Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Khachaturian are truly amazing. Nevertheless, Yuri Kazakov is not content to rest on his laurels and confinues to search for new opportunities to use the bayan as a classic instrument.

In all that Yuri Kazakov does one perceives not merely his remarkable musical gift, but the aspiration to put music within the reach of all people, the sense of duty of a Soviet artist, an educator of the people.


Unknown writer

The internationally renowned concert bayanist (accordionist) YURI KAZAKOV has long been regarded as one of the foremost artists of the Soviet Union. Born in the city of Archangelsk, USSR, he began his musical career as a pianist, and first performed publicly at the age of seven. But the piano was not to be his vocation.

Classical music
Young Yurys dream was to play the bayan, so it was fitting that he should abandon the piano, and study the bayan with renowned teacher and composer Dr. Nikolai Tchaikin, at the Gnessin Pedagogical Institute in Moscow. In 1951 YURI KAZAKOV redesigned the Russian "free bass" bayan, enabling him to play the classics of world music in their original form. Now added to his repertoire were works of Mozart, Chopin, Moussorgsky, Liszt, and J.S. Bach.

Concert instrument
His recital at the Moscow Conservatory in 1957 firmly established the bayans right as a classical instrument, and innovated a new type of recital - that of the sole recital for the bayan. Always striving to increase awareness of the bayan as a classical instrument, YURI KAZAKOV introduced the bayan into chamberensembles, with flutes, strings, and harp, and played with a symphony. The appearance together of YURI KAZAKOV and the world famous cellist Rostropovich, brought the bayan and the cello together for the first time.

Tchaikin concerto
Continuing to perfect his virtuosity, YURI KAZAKOV has become one of the finest performers of classical works on the bayan. In 1952, YURI KAZAKOV toured the USSR as soloist with the Archangelsk Philharmonic. He was first to perform in 1952, the famous Concerto for Bayan and Symphony Orchestra dedicated to him by its composer, Dr. N. Tchaikin. In 1955, he entered an International Competition for Folk Instruments in Warsaw and was awarded a gold medal and the title of International Competition Laureate.

In 1975, YURI KAZAKOV was a guest artist at the International Accordion Symposium, sponsored by the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto. YURI KAZAKOV has performed in over two dozen countries, and in 1963 was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the Soviet Union.

(addition by webmaster)

On January 22, 2002 Yury Kazakov recieves award from the hand of President V. Putin. "For merites of native land Russia" to honorary member of International Union´s musical public figures of Russia.


Silvery CD from Gnessins institute, for merits in the art of Bayan

Yury Kazakov diploma

A true legend.
On october 13, 2002 a monument was opened in Castelfidardo, Italy. It presented ten memorable accordionists from the world. One of the ten artists honored was Mr. Yury Kazakov.

Kazakov recieves unique certificat/award - april 12, 2006

This is the certificate for Yury Kazakov - He is the champion of Russia, being nominated "the records of musician Russia - Bayan/accordion.
The basis of this award:
1. Artist tours during 60 years, 1939 - 1999 - total of 7600 concerts
2. The number of performances during one year, 1979: 231 concerts
3. First musician in lifetime to be in the monument "Accordion" , Castelfidardo, Italy
4. Creating of academic and chamber direction of the art of Bayan
5. The invention/development of the modern bayan, with multiple registers, freebass.
- Chairman L.N. Ozerov - President V. Gloloviznin
Moscow, Russia. April 12, 2006