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Lera Auerbach
Hermitdom (fluctuating between loneliness and solitude)
Lost in the labyrinth of words and sounds.
Interests: poetry, prose, poetry., music composition, piano performances
Recent Activity
Insomnia © Lera Auerbach 2013 It is undeniable that creativity is one of the most important aspects of any profession. For an artist being creative is a matter of life or death. If you are not creative, you can't be an artist. Music emerges from silence, poetry from a white page, painting from a blank canvas. The artist brings to life ideas, sounds, images, giving form to that which was formless before. Yet that silence, that blank page or canvas - it is not empty, it is full of infinite possibilities. I remember the first time I performed a piano... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
In memory of Maxine Kumin, here is a short song I wrote on her poem "The Revisionist Dream". This is a performance by Angela Denoke and Roger Vignoles at the Kölner Philharmonie. The Revisionist Dream by Maxine Kumin - Poetry Archive. Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
In my studio, I used to have portraits of my favorite poets hanging on the wall next to my desk. One day, I realized that most of them either committed suicide or subjected themselves to suicide-like circumstances (like Pushkin who was repeatedly trying to subject himself to a duel). How could it be that the most sensitive people who bring so much joy to others through their writings, would give up on life? Suicide is still a taboo theme in our society. Yet, it daily kills more people than disease or war. Looking for answers, I came across the diaries... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Another Fall is falling on me. How many are still ahead? God knows... Does it matter? Would I feel any different about this one if I knew it were my last? Would I still practice piano, keep correspondence and answer the rare telephone calls? Would I book a vacation? Spend all days reading? Try to make sense of the pile of unfinished works? Would I, perhaps, attempt to create something new, something important and lasting, placing a bet on its survival’s strength? Would I try to live healthy? Read self-help books? Take herbal remedies? Change climate and diet, keep a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Some works have a destiny of their own, independent of the intentions of their authors. They arrive, unannounced, slam the door in your face, take residency in your house, and boss you around. In the summer of 1994 I was a student at the Aspen Music School, taking piano lessons with Joseph Kalichstein and spending every moment I could reading books, which my parents were sending to me all the way from Siberia. Slowly, one parcel at a time, our large library was following me to the U.S. I still remember the smell of the thick, blue volume of Maeterlinck’s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
My father never asks for directions. Even when he’s lost – he looks quite confident. He spends long hours studying his collection of maps. If it’s not in the map – its existence is doubtful. My mother asks everyone for directions, even when she knows well where she’s going, even if she is just two blocks from her house. She looks like a lost child, waiting to be found, not yet panicking, but on the verge of tears. My father likes the smell of his old car, its obedient noises, familiar caprices. He feels it’s the only thing left where... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I’ve grown too impatient to read long poems. After a while my eyes start shifting like dancers who’ve missed their entrance cues. I find – I am reading a different poem all together than the one on the page. I close my eyes. The letters are dancing and chewing my eyelids, like tiny caged rodents, sharp teeth protruding, their round eyes almost blind, their whiskers trembling, trying to smell through. This new poem I am reading in my mind is related to the one in the book, but as a distant cousin, the family ties are vaguely remembered, some childhood... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Piccolo flute: ears’ toothpick. Piccolo’s passages: scraping of the nervous system. Flute: skeleton of an exotic bird. Flute in the low register: unheard of. Alto flute: melted flute. Bass flute: imaginary friend that makes an occasional imaginary appearance. Block flute: a child’s toy, requiring a highly specialized professional to perform. Oboe: permanently out-of-tune instrument, so much so that the rest of the orchestra has to tune to it. Oboe: harmonics’ condenser. Oboist: a man who always tastes his instrument before playing it and smacks his lips in satisfaction. English horn: is neither English nor a horn. First clarinet: exhibitionist of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I am in the middle of writing a book – collection of random thoughts, musings, daily fragments. Here are some of them: On self: Wondering wanderer in search of wonder, always lost, never found, profane and profound; round and round circling sounds in the maze of the page, musical sage, child of the times, enchanted by rhymes, seeking connection in all forms of art, forgetting her part in everyday matters (invoices, letters), not knowing left from right, hiding alone in a secluded hut, dying from a papercut. . . . . . . . . On art: If there is... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
If Venice is married to Death - the small island of San Michele is the offspring of this union. It takes an entire day to visit San Michele, the legendary Isle of the Dead. The entire island is a cemetery, which resembles a labyrinth consisting of many contrasting sections, almost like miniature islands within one larger island. One of the most striking and memorable "rooms" of this labyrinth is the children’s section: children’s graves, most of them recent, with photographs, toys, flowers… On marble stones kids’ faces are so painfully alive, smiling, laughing, celebrating the joy of their too fleeting... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Arriving home after several months of travel, and while taking some time to recollect experiences by organizing photographs, I came upon images of one of the most memorable trips of last year. It was my first visit to Brazil, where I performed a Mozart piano concerto in the city of Curitiba with a superb orchestra led by Maestro Osvaldo Ferreira. Brazil made an indelible impression on me. After my performances in Curitiba, a modern city with all the 21st century commodities, I spent ten days traveling and learning about this mysterious, vast, multi-cultural country, buzzing with creativity. I took a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I have to apologize to the readers of BAP for my disappearance. One of the reasons is that I am in the process of completing an orchestral score for the upcoming premiere of my opera Gogol in Vienna. It is a large-scale opera with three acts, full orchestra, two choirs (adult mixed choir and boys), dances and the cast of fifteen characters. Since yesterday was Gogol's birthday, I think it would be appropriate to share with the readers of BAP a short interview I gave last week via email about Gogol. While the actual interview will be published in German,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
BEST WISHES TO ALL AT BAP FOR A HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2011 - from Lera Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in. -Leonard Cohen Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
VARIATIONS ON THE THEME OF TIME I. Time with time shrinks in size, worsens in quality. I search memories, trying to remember one perfect moment from childhood when past was still my future. II. Time exits, tip-toeing. I stand alone in this empty room, erasing my past, harvesting the words, burning them in the silence of music. All that I own has turned into ashes. I open the door and breathe in cold air. III. Time in places becomes so thin, you can see through its fading material. You see the dim valleys, You see strange shapes shifting, changing, blending.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Another November falling on me. How many are still ahead? God knows...Does it matter? Would I feel any better or any different about this one if I knew it were my last? Is ignorance - bliss? Would I still practice piano daily, keep correspondence and answer the rare telephone calls? Would I book a vacation? Spend all days reading? Try to make sense of the pile of unfinished works? Would I, perhaps, attempt to create something new, something important and lasting, placing a bet on its survival’s strength? Would I try to live healthy? Read self-help books? Take herbal remedies?... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
I opened the windows on a dark orchard. Trees were guarding the movement of branches. And with the bitterness of October rennet apples I opened the windows on a dark orchard. The funeral decay of the orchard lingered, Covering the heart in fallen memories, With autumnal stilling languor, The funeral decay of the orchard lingered. October lingered and languored. Stealthily approached with tiny steps. And we defoliated mysteriously too, While October lingered and languored. The last frame has been brought into focus. Branches draw organ screams in sky. Who knows what will come, what drama When the last frame has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
CANARY So yellow as if defending this color was its only quest; as if painted by an artist, obsessed, unaccustomed to shade; as if stitched by mid-summer’s sun; made with delicate silk in the ancient country long gone, the canary swings on its wooden swing, claiming its cage (golden prince in exile). It glances at me through the bars – and sings; sings far better than any sounds I try to capture. As in rapture, some birdly ecstasy, perhaps, its song shimmers, almost visible in the slight rips and tears at the edges of the air in peripherals of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
WHAT CAN KILL YOUNo, indifference is not the worst of it, and it doesn’t equate with loneliness. After all you choose your feelings, even though it doesn’t seem like a choice. No, it’s not your sloppy sense of direction, alienating attitudes or unbearable shyness, which is, in fact, bearable, it is something else entirely, like cancer or a car crash and it is somewhere else where you lost it, your crumbling sense of perspective. Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Here is a short poem for all of you who ever doubted that poetry is indeed a very useful pursuit: A poem a day, Keeps psychiatrists at bay. - by Lera Auerbach Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
The mechanism of memory is complex. The Time Machine--a dream of dreamers--was created long ago. It is human memory. And I am certain that we have been granted the power to remember everything; that in the depths of the human brain are preserved imprints of every moment we have lived in past and future lives. The only complication lies in the ability “to find” them in the labyrinths of memory. To find them by secret guiding signs: smells, a familiar place, a certain refraction of light, everyday trifles. To unwind the ball of string as I make my way to... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Here are some of this week's findings, confirming to the idea that life may indeed be worth living: This is a wonderful TED talk on creativity, pressures, self-destructive tendencies that artists are prone to, and possible solutions: Glenn Glould in all his glory at home: One of the greatest living performers: and a clip form Death on Venice, as interpreted by John Neumeier: Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
When one thinks of Rachmaninov, usually what comes to mind is his face, serious and stern, clean-shaven, with a short modern haircut. His expression is distant and cold. He looks like a British gentleman, not easily approachable, always well dressed, with a posture of self-confidence if not arrogance. Then one may remember the endless tales of Rachmaninov’s depression, his legendary gloom, the trademark-able depth of his Russian soul. Yet to me Rachmaninov’s name has always been linked to joy. Back in 1991, at the time of my immigration to America, alone and far from home for the first time, an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
From left to right: Marie-Pierre Greve (Royal Danish Ballet), Silvia Azzoni (Hamburg Ballet), Yuan Yuan Tan (San Francisco Ballet) I am currently in San Francisco, where the San Francisco Ballet is preparing the premiere of my ballet The Little Mermaid. Today was my first rehearsal with the orchestra and tomorrow will be the first rehearsal with the dancers and the orchestra. The ballet was originally written for and commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen for the anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen and opening of their new opera theater in 2005 (this ballet was the first ballet production done... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. asked me to write program notes for one of the Kennedy Center's "Focus on Russia" programs this season. One of the works in the program was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4. Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony was written between 1877 and 1878, during the most turbulent year of Tchaikovsky’s life and is closely associated with two women – one whom he married that year and the other, whom he never met in person. In the tradition of the romantic excesses of his time, his wife cast a demonic shadow over his life, while the other woman remained... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
I have been fascinated by the myth of Icarus. As a child, I lived in ancient Greece. The book of myths was my favorite and the world of jealous gods and god-like humans was more real to me than the world outside of my windows, full of bloody red flags (the red of the Soviet flag symbolized the blood of the heroes of the Revolution) and the Soviet-trinity portraits of Lenin-Marx-Engels with the occasional bushy eyebrows of Brezhnev looking at me from the walls of the buildings. In some ways the two worlds blurred. The world outside made much more... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2010 at The Best American Poetry