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Publications archive

08.09.2009 (Information Portal, Kiev)
A Pensioner from the Donetsk Region Makes a Church for Kobzon
A pensioner from Kramatorsk has made a model of the Moscow Church of St Basil the Blessed and wants to present it to his compatriot, the famous singer Joseph Kobzon
Valeriy Abakumov explains: I greatly admire the talented singer. Back in the 1960s, while on active service in the army, I attended a concert given by Joseph Kobzon and Maya Kristalinskaya and was absolutely charmed by them. And Joseph went to School No 6 in Kramatorsk, he is our fellow countryman.

09.09.2009 Krasnaya Zvezda (newspaper of the Russian Defence Ministry)
From I. Pavliutkinas article, The Alexandrov Ensemble Performing for the Cadets
On Moscow Day, the famous award-winning A.B. Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army performed for cadets from Moscow and the Moscow Region and for the wards of the RF Ministry of Defences Girls Boarding School at its own Alexandrovsky Concert Hall.
The performance of the Peoples Artist of the USSR Joseph Kobzon, the acclaimed master of the song, was offered as a special gift to the audience. His benchmark rendering of the song Victory Day is included in the gold song fund. One of the reasons for the singers long-time friendship with the Alexandrov Ensemble is probably that his every song, like theirs, issues from the heart. The very first chords of the song about celebrating with tears in the eyes brought the audience as one to their feet
Naturally, the celebrated singer was not allowed to go without gifts. The Chief of the Main Education Department of the RF Armed Forces Lieutenant General Anatoliy Bashlakov wished all the attendants a happy Moscow Day on behalf of the RF Ministry of Defence and said that Joseph Kobzon had been commended by the order of the RF Minister of Defence. The old friend of the Ministry of Defence was also presented with a commemorative badge designed by the M.B. Grekov Military Artists Studio. The Head of the Cadets
Education Section of the Moscow Education Department Sergei Arkhipkin handed Kobzon a certificate of merit on behalf of the Moscow Government. The cadets hailed Kobzon with a treble hurray!.

10.09.2009 Komsomolskaya Pravda (newspaper)
It Is Joseph Kobzons Birthday
If you hear the doyen of the Russian song scene, you know immediately it is about Joseph Davydovich Kobzon.
The singer has set a great many records. He gave 12 recitals in one day. One of his concerts lasted a record time: from 7 pm till 7.40 am!
He has recorded some 3,000 songs. Kobzon is in Russias Guinness Book of Records as the most awarded artist. There is a statue of Joseph Kobzon in Donetsk and a street has been named after him in his home town of Chasovoy Yar.
On the September 11, Josephs friends and colleagues will come to wish him happy birthday. Among them will be: Alexandra Pakhmutova, Alexander Rosenbaum, Zurab Sotkilava, Oskar Feltsman, Nikolay Baskov, Valeria, Lev Leschenko, Svetlana Morgunova, Tamara Gverdtseteli, Layma Vaykule, Alexander Buynov, Nadezhda Babkina and the Russian Song, Boris Moiseyev, Taisiya Povaliy, Irina Otiyeva, Valentina Legkostupova, Natalia Gordienko, the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Armed Forces of the RF Ministry of Interior and Victor Yeliseyev, the Republic Group and the Gadabouts Ensemble.

10.09.2009 Trud-7 (newspaper)
S. Biriukov, Joseph Kobzon: Scoundrels have never scared me.
Tomorrow, on his 72nd birthday, Joseph Kobzon will give a major recital, the first one in many years, in Luzhniki. The singer, whose recent years have been a melee of joys and troubles, told Trud-7 why he had decided to break the long fast.
- Did perhaps the nostalgic name of the venue, Rossia, where you were invited to perform play a role in your decision?
- That too, naturally. Back at my 50th birthday, I initiated a tradition for well-known performers to celebrate their birthday on stage. By way of an annual artists performance report. So the management said to me: why are you, Joseph Davydovich, reneging on your own initiative? It is nice that Sonia Rotaru, Nani Bregvadze and Kolia Baskov have expressed their wish to share the stage with me. My former students, Valeria, Ira Otieva and Valia Legkostupova, will be there too. So there wont be much space left for me (he chuckles). As for the name, it is good that it was kept after the Rossia Hotel and the world-famous concert venue got demolished a few years ago. The State Central Concert Hall Rossia is now based in Luzhniki, at the Palace of Sports.
- I recall there was a solid-marble plaque dedicated to you there.
- It is still in existence and kept at Luzhniki. It was made for my 60th birthday when I announced my plans to wrap up touring. A way of thanking me for what I had done over many years. After all, I sang at Rossia from its very beginning, at the first concert when there were only builders in the audience.
- It is said that Kobzon is not a poor man and could afford to build a venue like this on his own.
- Ha-ha! You journalists do exaggerate everything. If Kobzons a bit under the weather, it means he is dying, if Kobzons well-off, say he is a multi-millionaire. I have been a member of the State Duma for 12 years and all ye who enter there must sign a statement renouncing any business activity apart from creative work. So I am not engaged in business. Even though I have to provide regular financial assistance to my Aginsk Buryatsk Constituency and two orphanages, in Tula and Yasnaya Polyana. This money comes mainly not from my own pocket but from my wealthy friends. But I certainly cannot afford to build a concert hall. If I could, I would have done it long ago.
- But you are an honorary citizen of 28 cities in a number of countries, surely you are in a better position than a mere mortal.
- I am very proud of the honour accorded me by Krasnodar, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk, the capital of my native Donbass. I am especially proud of being an honorary citizen of Moscow, the city to which I first came as a humble young lad in soldiers boots. I was the 26th to get this title since 1886 when it was introduced. To join the ranks of such people as Yevgeniy Svetlanov, Maya Plisetskaya, Alexandra Pakhmutova is a great honour. But I have to tell you that it offers no material privileges. All the jokes about free public baths or tram rides are just that jokes.
- Talking of rides, do you often go, say, on the underground?
- On very rare occasions. Our Metro is wonderful but there is mud and litter in the underground passages, and tramps scandalous!
- You have always been welcome in the highest corridors of power. You sang at Brezhnevs summer house.
- I sang before Stalin, for a start. In 1946 and 1948, as the winner of amateur song contests in Ukraine.
- As part of a choir?
- What choir? I sang solo! Blanters Birds of Passage Are Flying and The Golden Wheat.
- And did Joseph Vissarionovich show appreciation, give you a pat on the head?
- He did not, he sat in the box. It was at the Kremlin Theatre. Neither the Palace of Congresses nor the Rossia Concert Hall existed at the time. I sang for Khruschev and at Brezhnevs dacha. Once I was returning in a chauffeured car from one such private concert where I had been invited to sing for Brezhnevs daughter, Galina, and her friends. As we were pulling up by my house in Prospekt Mira and I was about to get out, the driver said: Joseph, you are a nice guy and a fine singer, you should not go there any more. I did not ask why.
- Probably as Griboyedovs famous saying goes: Ah, keep away from upstairs; or be prepared for trouble at any hour.?
- Arguably.
- Have you had any dealings with Gorbachev?
- Naturally I have. I was a peoples deputy to the USSR Parliament and took part in all the Congresses. He is a very interesting and intelligent person.
- But you are a patriot of the Soviet Union while he is often branded as a virtual destroyer of the country.
- I think Mikhail Sergeyevich did not quite have enough willpower. The democracy game he got himself and the country engaged in prevented him from dispersing those who wanted the Soviet Union to be destroyed. It stopped him from using force. This resulted in the collapse of a great power. It is a terrible shame.
- Do you mean that were you the president you would not shrink from issuing a most rigorous order?
- In a certain situation I would not. It is better to use controlled force than suffer enormous human losses later. Do you remember when we buried as national heroes the first three people who died on the barricades, the entire country mourning them? Later, the number of victims of various conflicts went into thousands and it became routine.
- Did you never think of indeed standing for president?
- I regard myself as a rather sensible person and I am convinced that Russia must have a Russian as a leader. He then can enjoy the trust of the majority of the population. Whereas I am a Jew. There is no call for me to strive to a position of power, my achievement on stage has been quite substantial.
- You were even referred to as the richest performing artist.
- This was indeed true and I am not ashamed of it. There has been less mention of why I was the richest: I worked more than anyone else. For example, I was the first to start giving two or three recitals a day. Besides, I drew the highest rates: 202 roubles and 50 kopecks per recital on a tour.
- If we recall the dollar exchange rate at the time (six roubles on the black market), it was not that much some 40 greenbacks.
- Quite a bit less in Moscow where you got no touring premium. Come on, could you really compare the wealth of even the richest of artists of the time with the fortunes of todays swindler oligarchs? Totally different money and ways of getting it.
- What was the first really expensive purchase in your life?
- In 1964, I bought a cooperative flat and moved there from my communal one. Incidentally, I never, in all my life, got a metre of floor space allocated by the state. I bought another cooperative flat in 1967, my first car in 1970, my dacha in 1976. This is where I live now. I have re-built it over the years but even so it is not a Roublyovka castle.
- The booze tends to be a frequent sin and temptation in an artists life.
- I will not dissemble, I was not teetotal. But a hundred grams in a company of friends or after a concert to relax was quite enough for me. Today I do not drink at all; not because I am so good or righteous but because my health does not let me. No need to be sanctimonious. As Gorky said, I feel sorry for drunks but abstainers scare me.
So it would not happen to you, say to forget the words of a song because you had had a drink?
- God forbid! It is total prohibition before concert. If I knew that one of my musicians had had a beer, let alone alcohol, before going on stage, he was sacked on the spot.
- You used to have a tense relationship with the United States which refused you entry, allegedly, because of your friendship with Otari Kvantrishvili, a well-known politician and a reputed thief-in-law.
- First of all, Kvantrishvili never was a thief-in-law. Secondly, no one has ever explained to me what the actual objection was. Although the State Duma passed a resolution on the protection of the MP Kobzons honour and dignity, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Lavrov, made a submission to the current US administration urging them to stop the persecution but there has been silence in reply. Well, such are their bureaucratic laws. As long as a file is sitting in the computer, they will stick to it religiously. By the way, it does not affect just me but my whole family: my wife, son, daughter and even grandchildren.
- You knew Ivankov Yaponchik - didnt you?
- Not very well. I met him in the States before he became subject to persecution.
- He is said to be an outstanding character who can recite Yesenin by heart for hours.
- Quite true.
- Have you not thought of going to see him now that he is in hospital after being wounded in an assassination attempt?
- No, I told you we had never been close. Why would I go see Vyacheslav Kirillovich if we have neither been friends nor partners in any business? Just to give you, the paparazzi an excuse for a spate of scandal-mongering? No, thank you, make your money at somebody elses expense.
- You who have been through so much: singing before Basayev in Chechnya, volunteering to rescue hostages at Nord-Ost, have you ever felt scared?
- There have been all sorts of things: Afghanistan, Chernobyl, Chechnya, Nord-Ost. It is true that Shamil Basayev suddenly turned up at one of my concerts in Grozny, in the 1990s. I was singing at the only surviving venue the handball stadium. Instead of applauding, the audience fired their guns into the air. They had known me since 1964 when I sang the Song of Grozny. This song is still popular there and my first title was Honoured Artist of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. Basayev came up to me and said: Our custom is to present distinguished guests with a horse but the war has taken all we have so we give what we can. And he gave me his handgun. Akhmed Zakayev, their cultural minister at the time, whispered in my ear: It is the custom to fire the gun you have been given as a gift. I said: I am not firing any gun and I would not like you to ever do it either
- So you know no fear at all?
- Why, yes, when it is a bumpy flight. Or when a crazy scorcher cuts across the lanes. I am impressionable and even sentimental. But scoundrels have never made me scared.

Our file

Joseph Kobzon was born on September 11, 1937, in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine. His family spent the war years in evacuation, in Uzbekistan. He entered a mining technical college in 1956. Later, graduated from the Gnesins Institute (vocals). Sang about 2000 songs over 50 years, songs from the TV serial, Seventeen Moments of Spring, bringing him nationwide fame. His ex-wives: the singers Veronika Kruglova and Liudmila Senchina, the actress Liudmila Gurchenko. He is currently married to his fifth wife, Ninel Drizina-Kobzon. Has a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

10.09.2009 Tribuna (newspaper)
From A. Kriukovas article The Unknown Kobzon
The State Duma Member, Peoples Artist of the USSR Joseph Kobzon has been invited to appear in the first instalment of the Briefly Available programme in the TV-Centres new season.
The famous celebrity will make an attempt at self-assessment, revealing to the viewers his less than laudable habits, whether he is capable of saying sorry, when he had his last fight and whether it made him feel ashamed of himself, and why he failed to become an opera singer. Also, viewers will learn what he felt walking into a cage full of tigers for a birthday treat. And whether he was scared meeting Chechen terrorists during hostage-taking at Nord-Ost or singing with bullets flying around in Afghanistan.
The programme will contain many real stories from the maestros life, jokes and anecdotes. Viewers will hear that it took the singer forty takes to record a smash-hit for the legendary Seventeen Moments of Spring.

11.09.2009 Commersant (newspaper)
From Ivan -Buranovs article, Joseph Kobzon, Peoples Artist of the USSR, Member of the State Duma, Is 72 Today
He is greeted by Aslancheriy Tkhakushinov, President of the Adygeyan Republic:
- Dear Joseph Davydovich! Happy birthday to you! I am happy to offer my best wishes to one of the outstanding singers of our time, a true master whose talent and consummate professionalism have won him many state awards. Thousands of fans love you and look forward to welcoming you in the Republic of Adygeya. I wish you good health, happiness, prosperity, success in your artistic career and good luck in everything you do!

11.09.2009 Moskovsky Komsomolets (newspaper)
From Tatiana Fedotkinas article, Joseph Kobzon: Above All, Dont Feel Sorry For Me!
On the eve of his birthday, the famous artist admitted to the MK that he is still a boxer. This man enjoys a huge popularity across the post-Soviet space, there simply isnt anyone who has not heard of his name. Joseph Kobzon is an immensely talented artist, a superstar, a politician, a teacher. But above all, he is a man of superior willpower. A week after oncological surgery, he was on stage at a music festival and, a mere six weeks later, is throwing a gala concert for his 72nd birthday.
Joseph Davydovich, seeing that you and I are talking today and you are about to give a concert, it must mean you are in sterling good health. Let me offer you felicitations on your recovery since it would not do to wish a happy birthday before the day. Tell me what your feelings are on the eve of the celebrations?
As always, I am looking forward to it with great excitement. It is most important that no one should feel sorry for me on my birthday. It will be a joy to sing, to welcome my colleagues; I want it to be a true festival.
There are going to be so many guests I bet no one said no to an invitation to perform at Joseph Kobzons birthday gala?
I am very grateful to all my friends and colleagues. I even had to cut my own repertoire in order to give room to as many guests as possible. So it will be a major festive performance.
But this will be a feast for the audience, friends, colleagues what about yourself?
I am very happy to have started this tradition, to celebrate a birthday with a performance.
Which birthday do you remember best of all?
My 50th, I think. My mother was at the concert and I addressed the entire evening to her, trying to make sure she liked everything, felt happy for me, said well done.
And in your childhood, in the post-war years or have they faded from your memory?
Of course not. How could you forget it? My brightest memory is about a birthday cake. It was, you know, a slice of rye bread with a sugar candy. It was 1945 and I was eight.
What else do you remember of that time?
It was New Year there was a small mandarin hanging from the Christmas tree. Just one. In the morning, Mother shared it out among the children, the five of us. Each got a segment. I can still remember the mandarin taste.
I know that you are not only a famous singer but you also were a boxing champion of Ukraine.
What a thing to remember! (He laughs.) Yes, I was but that was a boys hobby. Ones street energy had to be spent on something! It is lucky that we spent it on getting healthy. We were deprived of all todays youngsters have in abundance. Television, discotheques, computers. But we had school, amateur dramatics, the street and sport.
Are you still a boxer?
If you mean boxing as a pure sport, no. But if you mean a sport that implies a leap of faith, perseverance, hard work, then yes. But, of course, if I am insulted and I cannot check my emotions, then I can head on
You mean you can knock somebody out, if you have to?
I do not like it. I am against physical showdowns. Why use your fists if you can reason? If you cannot clear the air calmly, then there is the mighty Russian language its standard or, if necessary, non-print version. But if there is really no alternative, if the fist is the only solution, then I can, yes, I am a boxer in such case.
You are also a granddad today. Is Misha, the youngest, your favourite?
And my little granddaughter who is six is my favourite, and my elder granddaughter, 11, too. I make no distinction between them. It is just that Misha well, he is the youngest.
All your grandsons and granddaughters will be among your guests, the youngest one too?
Of course, he is a fascinating boy. My granddaughters and I will sing Grandma Next To Grandpa together, it will be their present for me.
We wish Joseph Davydovich happiness, good health, a long life and to always stay a fighter.

11.09.2009 20:30 TVC Events
Yu. Bogdanov & T. Miroshnichenko, Package No. 17
Presenter: Today, the Peoples Artist of the USSR Joseph Kobzon celebrates his 72nd birthday. Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin have sent him their best wishes. Second Presenter: At this very moment, Kobzon and his artist friends of several generations are holding a concert, Here Comes Yet Another Birthday, in Luzhniki. Our correspondent, Marina Lavrrentieva, talks about the birthday boy.
Correspondent: His lyrical baritone captivated the fairer half of the Soviet Unions population from the very first performances. But not girls alone looked forward to hearing the popular singer. His particular model of singing, a combination of bel canto with some sort of special, open-your-heart inflections, conquered the hearts of a whole generation. His repertoire encompasses a wide range of very different songs: lyrical, socially engaged, patriotic. And every one of them claims the same level of attention to the word and poetic message. Georgy Garanian, Peoples Artist of Russia: My wife confessed to me that she first saw Joseph on the telly when she was 5. And that was it, her first love. I thought she had an exceptionally fine taste.
Correspondent: In the mid-1990s, he said a solemn good-bye to the stage, and even went on a number of farewell tours, but failed to part with the limelight. No celebration, be it on a city or all-Russian scale, can do without Kobzon.
Valentina Tolkunova, Peoples Artist of Russia: I think it is Russia celebrating because Joseph has given many years, many scores of years of his life, of his creative effort to his beloved country, to Moscow and to all of us. Correspondent: He has been getting birthday greetings from all over the world since early morning today as Ukraine, Dagestan, Adygeya have also lavished awards on him and he is an honorary citizen of 28 cities. Several generations of artists are taking part in the concert, Here Comes Yet Another Birthday, which is being held, as we speak, at Luzhniki. Among them are colleagues who started their stage careers with the singer, Professor Kobzons former students and those who have always regarded him as a model of performing excellence.
Valery Siutkin, Honoured Artist of Russia: We all stand in admiration of your courage, your ability to overcome obstacles and your love of life.
Correspondent: He spent some time pondering over the artists lot, watching, as a youngster, the off-stage life of the circus. There he acquired a life-long skill to overcome the blues and pangs of ill health and at 72, he is smiling.

11.09.2009 IA Tatar-Inform (Kazan)
From: Today Is the Day of Russias Military Glory
September 11, 1937, is the day Joseph Kobzon, the Soviet and Russian crooner, public figure and deputy of the RF State Duma, was born in the town of Chasov Yar, Ukraine. His first involvement with singing was through school amateur dramatics, in which he was very successful, winning a number of regional and all-Ukrainian song contests. In 1958, Joseph enrolled at the voice-training faculty of the Gnesins State Music Teachers Institute. In 1962, Joseph started touring as a soloist, his first record was produced featuring songs by Ostrovsky and Pakhmutova, and he joined the team of the New Years Lights drop-in TV Programme. He became popular with audiences. The 1960s were the years when Kobzon fine-tuned his performance technique, his particular gift to combine bel canto with an easy manner of delivery, as well as attention to the word and poetic content. He took part and won prizes in many international contests. He was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the RSFSR and a Lenins Komsomol Award in 1973, and the highest Soviet artists title of Peoples Artist of the USSR, in 1987. Alongside his concert performances, Kobzon set up a popular song faculty at the State Music Teachers Institute, in 1983, where he is teaching. Irina Otiyeva, Valentina Legkostupova, Marina Khlebnikova and Valeria have come from his class. In 1996, Kobzon was elected member of the Academy for Humanitarian Sciences in recognition of his public activities in the area of art and culture. In 1997, Joseph Kobzon formally ended his concert touring career but has, nonetheless, continued singing and giving recitals. He is a well-known political and public figure, member of the RF State Duma, regular contributor to charitable events and concerts. Joseph Kobzon lives currently in Moscow. He is an honorary citizen of more than 30 cities and regions of Russia and holds a great many awards, orders and medals, both of the Russian Federation and of other countries.

11.09.2009 RIA Novosti Gloria Mundi (Information Portal)
Joseph Kobzon Has Invited Friends To a Concert To Celebrate His Birthday
The singer Joseph Kobzon will celebrate his 72nd birthday with a concert, Here Comes Another Birthday, at the Rossia Concert Hall in Luzhniki, where he will perform some rather unexpected duets with stars of Russian entertainment, as the organisers told RIA Novosti.
The concert is deliberately set to take place on the day of our singing legend. It will be a series of unexpected duets sung by Joseph Kobzon with his guest artists, our source reveals.
She said she could not divulge all the forthcoming concerts secrets but mentioned that Kobzon, for example, will sing Lads From Our Courtyard, jointly with Rastorguyev. The stage, by the way, will be set as a Moscow courtyard where Kobzon will be receiving guests.
Among the celebrities coming to wish Kobzon a happy birthday will be Alexandra Pakhmutova, Alexander Rosenbaum, Zurab Sotkilava, Oskar Feltsman, Nikolay Baskov, Valeria, Lev Leschenko, Svetlana Morgunova, Tamara Gverdtseteli, Layma Vaykule, Alexander Buynov, Nadezhda Babkina and her Russian Song Ensemble, Boris Moiseyev, Taisiya Povaliy, Irina Otiyeva, Valentina Legkostupova, Natalia Gordienko, the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Armed Forces of the RF Ministry of Interior and Victor Yeliseyev, the Republic Group and the Gadabouts Ensemble.
Apart from singing duets with Kobzon, some of the artists have prepared other joint acts. Layma Vaykule and Alexander Rosenbaum, for example, will sing Ho, Hold-Up, we were told.
Joseph Kobzon was born on September 11, 1937, in the town of Chasov Yar, Donetsk Region, Ukraine. In 1956, the future singer entered the Dnepropetrovsk Mining Technical College. He also took a university degree voice-training course at the Gnesins State Music Teachers Institute where he taught later. The famous pop-singer Valeria is one of Prof. Kobzons graduates.
Kobzons performing technique, a combination of bel canto with an easy manner of delivery, as well as attention to the word and poetic message, evolved in the 1960s.
Kobzons repertoire includes Soviet patriotic and socially engaged songs, lyrical songs and lieders, compositions dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, some opera and operetta arias and ariosos. Kobzon did not shy away from Russian and Jewish folk songs and even the so called bards songs.
It could be said, therefore, that Kobzon has covered virtually the entire range of the best Soviet and Russian songs, those created by Dunayevsky, Blanter, the Pokrass brothers, Novikov, Solovyov-Sedoy, Fradkin, Feltsman, Tulikov, Pakhmutova, Tukhmanov, Shainsky and other Soviet composers.
Kobzon was elected repeatedly a deputy to the State Duma from the Aginsk Buryat Autonomous Region. The singer is a Peoples Artist of the USSR, RSFSR, Ukraine and the Dagestan ASSR, an Honoured Artist of the RSFSR, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR and Adygeya and an honorary citizen of 28 cities including Moscow.

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