Maxim Shalygin

composer | conductor | visual artist

Maxim Shalygin


"Creativity is an unconscious act of insanity, in a burst of which the truth is born. No matter how beautiful or disgusting it may seem to people far from madness, its value is beyond doubt, both for the author and for those able to sense its invisible beauty. After all, gratitude for endless trials and suffering brings joy and blissful emptiness…
Being shocked by music is about pain turning into beauty and getting under your skin, taking away your breath; about everything stopping to move. I want to be scratched inside by sound and experience the fleeting, invisible beauty".

Maxim Shalygin is a Ukrainian-Dutch composer (was born in Kamianske, formerly Dniprodzerzhynsk in 1985).

In 2010 Shalygin moved to the Netherlands, the place where he has been able to successfully realise his most daring ideas. During this time he has written more than 40 works in various genres: chamber music, vocal music, symphonic music, electro-acoustic music, as well as music for theatre, ballet and film. Since 2016 he has been a founder and artistic member of the Shapeshift Ensemble (NL), with which he started the S I M I L A R project. The macro cycle for a lifetime, in which each new chapter lasts at least one hour and is written for a certain number of identical instruments, top-class musicians who can reproduce sometimes the most complex and sophisticated colours of the score.

Shalygin's compositions combine a wide range of techniques with psychological insight and spirituality. The composer expands the traditional range of playing techniques, not so much by resorting to 'extended techniques', but rather by unfolding the sounds of the instruments in all their congenial sonority. No academic formulae, no avant-garde radicalism, but rather a self-conceived scale of playing techniques that that never severs the ties with sonority, and thus allows for maintaining a thoroughly tonal language.

Shalygin has been a participant in many international competitions and has never been a prize winner. However, for his “Letters to Anna” symphony for violin solo, he obtained an honorable mention at the 2012 Gaudeamus competition. In the same year, his music was selected for Lars von Trier’s “Gesamt” project. Shalygin was a composer-in-residence in Izolyatsia [UA], Storioni Festival, Soundsofmusic Festival [NL], and at the moment in residence at the Tomoko Mukaiyama Foundation. His works have been performed at many famous venues and music festivals worldwide, including Music on Main (Vancouver, Canada),  Klarafestival (Brussel, Belgium), Musikwoche Hitzacker 2022, IMPULS 2022 | Festival für Neue Musik, Konzertsaal, HMDK Stuttgart, Piano Salon Christophori, Einstein Kultur - Theater Musik (Germany), Brussels Piano Festival, Musique de Chambre en Normandie (France), Galway Cathedral Organ Festival (Ireland), Carnegie Hall, Jersey City Theater Center | JCTC, Congregation Sherith Israel (US), PODIUM.festival Mödling (Austria), Kunstzone Lokremise St. Gallen (Switzerland), Filharmonia Łódzka (Poland), The National Philharmonic of Ukraine,  Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, LSO St Luke’s (UK), Kozushima Island & The Museum of Art (Japan), Gaudeamus Muziekweek, WoNDeRFeel festival, November Music Festival, Zuiderstrandtheater, MerkAz, Cello Biënnale Amsterdam, Oerol Festival, Nederlands Vioolconcours, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, TivoliVredenburg, Concertgebouw (The Netherlands).

Leading contemporary music ensembles who have performed his works include National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Amsterdam Cello Octet, Netherlands Radio Choir, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Asko|Schönberg, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, DoelenKwartet, Insomnio, Nieuw Ensemble, Slagwerk Den Haag, Amstel Quartet and Keuris Quartet.

For many years, Shalygin has been occupied with music for solo instruments. “The most concealed, intimate, and deep things can only be expressed by a single instrument,” he says. In each of his solo works, Shalygin reaches an exalted state, giving the instrument a special voice. The “9 Preludes” for piano solo, the “Letters to Anna” symphony for violin solo, “Musique de fer” for one percussionist, “Trembling Music” for accordion solo, and Canti d'inizio e fine  for solo cello are the results of close cooperation with such unique performers as Antonii Baryshevskyi  (piano), Emmy Storms (violin), Konstantyn Napolov (percussion), Vincent van Amsterdam (accordion), Maya Fridman (cello). 

Shalygin began studying composition seriously at the age of sixteen with Irina Ivashenko in his native city Kamianske, formerly Dniprodzerzhynsk. In 2004 he trained for one year with Boris Tishchenko at the N. Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory (RU). Disappointed in educational and social aspects, he returns to Ukraine. He received his first master's degree in 2010 at the National Music Academy in Kyiv (UA),  where he studied with Igor Shcherbakov and developed under the great influence of the creativity and personality of composer Svyatoslav Lunyov. One year later, in 2011, Shalygin received his second master's degree at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (NL), where he studied with Cornelis de Bondt and Diderik Wagenaar. He currently lives and works in the Netherlands.