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Yakov Gubanov


Yakov Gubanov photo

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1954, Yakov Gubanov began playing the piano and composing music at a very young age, and went on to earn his degree in composition from the Moscow Conservatory in 1976, followed by a Ph.D. in music theory in 1983. During his years in Moscow he was one of the last private students of Dmitri Shostakovich, with whom he studied over the course of five years. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading accompanists for silent film, having given over 500 such performances and serving as ‘Composer-in-Residence’ at the Harvard Film Archive from 1996 to 2007. This is one of the many educational institutions with which he has been associated, in Europe, Israel and the USA. Since 2002 he has taught composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, teaching original courses to over 2,000 students. For further information, visit



The association of Yakov Gubanov with the Chamber Chorus is an exciting development for both the composer and the choir. The broad reach of the SLCC, first to England with Sasha Johnson Manning, and then to Australia with Clare Maclean, now extends to Russia with Yakov Gubanov. Each ‘Composer-in-Residence’ has brought a distinct style of composition to the group, and in Yakov’s case this is rooted in Russian Orthodox traditions. After a career spent pursuing expression in mainly orchestral music, of late Yakov has applied his energies to the writing of sacred choral music, initially with the motets Videntes Stellam and Benedicta et Venerabilis. The latter was commissioned by the Italian vocal ensemble, Cantica Symphonia, who performed and broadcast it on national public radio in Italy and France. In 2008 it was included on a Glossa label CD that was awarded the Diapason d’Or prize. It was this motet that brought Yakov to the attention of SLCC Artistic Director Philip Barnes, who programmed it as well as a setting of Psalm 27 for a performance in February 2010. The warm reception given these pieces led to a commission, The Garden of Roses, in December of the same year, and subsequently to the invitation to become the Chamber Chorus’s third ‘Composer-in-Residence.’

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