Composer-performers who write primarily for their own instruments have left great impressions in the past, and Nikita Koshkin is no exception. Paganini pushed back the technical limits of the violin, gaining for the instrument a new range of musical possibilities, Chopin’s music unleashed the expressive potential of the piano to the great profit of later composers, and now, the ambition of the Russian composer-guitarist Nikita Koshkin in writing music for the guitar has been twofold: to expand the vocabulary of effects on the guitar, and, more importantly, to develop means to incorporate these into musical expressions.

Born in Moscow in 1956, Koshkin recalls liking the music of Shostakovich and Stravinsky at age 4. His parents planned a diplomatic career for young Nikita, however, and until he was 14, rock was his only musical interest. That year, his grandfather gave him a guitar and a recording by Andrés Segovia, and his life was changed. Composing for and playing the guitar became his double passion, and he went on to study guitar with George Emanov at the Moscow College of Music, and with Alexander Frauchi at the Gnesin Institute (Russian Academy of Music), where he also studied composition with Victor Egorov. Koshkin’s composing profile gained international stature in 1980, when Vladimir Mikulka premiered his suite for guitar, The Prince’s Toys. Koshkin’s music, which includes scores for guitar ensembles and works for guitar with other instruments and the voice, has since been performed by artists such as John Williams, the Assad Duo, and the Zagreb and Amsterdam Guitar Trios. Koshkin is also an active concertizer, with tours of Russia, Central and Western Europe, Great Britain and the United States to his credit. His first CD was made in Arizona through Soundset Recordings while he was in the United States in 1997 as a featured artist of the Guitar Foundation of America International Convention in Southern California.

Here’s Edson Lopes playing Nikita Koshkin’s ‘Melody’

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