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Izaly Zemtsovsky

(Viktorovich)

(b Moscow, 1944; d Moscow, 1996). Russian ethnomusicologist, collector, folklorist, ensemble director and actor. In the mid-1960s he studied the balalaika at the Gnesin Academy of Music. After undertaking fieldwork with his mother, who was an ethnographer, he became fascinated by folklore and founded an experimental ensemble which rehearsed for the first time on 16 September 1973 under his direction. The young participants did not learn the songs from memory but improvised them as though they had adopted them from traditional singers. Their songs were in the style of the drawn-out songs of the Don Cossacks, which have distinctive qualities of timbre, texture and structure. This was the beginning of a powerful revival of traditional songs in various regions of Russia. Pokrovsky's work encouraged others to establish ensembles for the purpose of performing regional traditional musics, and by the early 1980s thousands of such groups were playing traditional material based on his principles. Pokrovsky's ensemble and the revival movement won enormous popularity, which troubled the KGB. After ...