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 has moved to the Netherlands, the place where he could successfully turn the bravest ideas into reality. During this time he managed to write more than 40 works in various genres: chamber, vocal, symphonic, electro-acoustic music, as well as music for theatre, ballet, and film. Since 2016 he is a founder and an artistic member of the Shapeshift Ensemble (NL), which marked the beginning of the S I M I L A R project. The macrocycle for a lifetime in which each new chapter is at least an hour and written for a certain number of identical instruments, top-class musicians who can reproduce sometimes the most complex and sophisticated colors of the score.

Shalygin’s compositions combine a wide range of techniques with psychological insight and spirituality. Composer extends the traditional array of playing techniques, not so much by resorting to ‘extended techniques’, rather is out at unfolding the sounds of the instruments in all their congenial sonority. No academic formulas hence, nor avant-garde radicalisms, but rather a self-conceived scale of playing techniques in its own right that never severs the ties with sonority, and thus allows for maintaining a thoroughly tonal language.

Shalygin has entered many international competitions and has never been awarded. 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 Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Concertgebouw, TivoliVredenburg, Zuiderstrandtheater, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Cello Biënnale Amsterdam, November Music, Holland Dance Festival, Soundsofmusic, Wonderfeel, Dag in de Branding [NL], hcmf [UK], New Music Edmonton, Music on Main [CA], GAIDA Festival (LT), Gogolfest, Kyiv Contemporary Music Days [UA], and CIME/ICEM [US] and many more. 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 Antony Baryshevsky (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.