Double Basses

Margarita Rybkina

In the orchestra since 2022

Since the age of 6, Margarita Rybkina has performed on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre as an artist of a children’s troupe, as well as part of the orchestra of the Galina Vishnevskaya Educational Theatre. She has been playing the double bass since she was 13. Since 2018, she has been a student at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory (People’s Artist of the Russian Federation, Professor Rustem Gabdullin’s class). Since 2022, along with her studies at the conservatory she has been working in the musicAeterna orchestra.

She has taken part in master classes of such double bassists as Artem Chirkov, Grigory Krotenko, Petru Iuga, Alexander Belsky, Katalin Rotaru, Roman Patkoló, and others. At the Conservatory she attended Tatiana Shatkovskaya’s optional course in composition and classes in instrumentation and techniques of a modern ensemble by composer Olga Bochikhina.

Margarita Rybkina maintains active concert career as a soloist and a member of chamber ensembles. She has performed concerts and performances at the Bolshoi Theatre, the St. Petersburg and Moscow Philharmonic Halls, the State Academic Capella, the halls of the Moscow Conservatory, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and other venues. Participated in the OPERA LAB, the Russian Seasons festival in Italy (2018), in the projects of the Studio for New Music at the Moscow Conservatory and the festival-laboratory of contemporary music Gnesin Week. She is a frequent participant of the Diaghilev Festival in Perm.

She has collaborated with such collectives as the Moscow Conservatory Concert Symphony Orchestra (2018–2022), the Moscow chamber orchestras Entre Nous, Fiori musicali, MIRA orchestra, Studio for New Music ensemble, and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Volga Region (2021).

Since the 2020/2021 season, she has been the concertmaster of the double bass group of the Moscow Conservatory Student Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anatoly Levin. During her time in the musicAeterna orchestra, she has worked with such conductors as Vladimir and Mikhail Yurovsky, Thomas Sanderling, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alexander Lazarev, Alexander Sladkovsky, Alexander Rudin, Valentin Uryupin, and others.

Why did you choose the double bass?
As a child, I performed in the Vishnevskaya Educational Theatre, I sang the alto part in the choir. Those were, for example, scenes from The Queen of Spades, Eugene Onegin, Carmen... On the stage, I loved to spy on the musicians of the orchestra and their instruments, especially those two long necks sticking out of the pit on the side. I was admiring their work, I thought it was super complicated (and it turned out to be so). A few years later, I mastered the double bass a little and began to play those operas in a student orchestra. I sang all these choral parts quietly to myself while proudly playing my bass part. When someone asks how I cope with the instrument, it is, to be honest, even flattering me to some extent. I knew what I was getting into when choosing a double bass — of course, it's not a violin or even a cello that you can carry over your shoulders. But the double bass is not as heavy as it may seem, although, probably, I'm just used to difficulties. I don't have to carry the instrument with me all the time, I leave it in the rehearsal room, and I only take the bow on tour. And even if the situation forces me to move the instrument from one place to another, it is not a big deal. There will always be cute young men nearby who will be very happy to help a fragile girl.
If a time machine existed, where would you go?
To be honest, I have always considered myself a person born at the wrong time, in the wrong era. The times of Proust, Stravinsky, Chaplin, Tesla, Coco Chanel are appealing to me… It’s because the so-called Belle Époque was a time of flourishing economy, science and art. At that time, people still knew what it was to be a ‘flaneur’ and why one should saunter idly, they knew how to be present in the moment, they were in no hurry to live, they changed for dinner. Men cared which of the 40 ties and scarves would fit a three-piece suit, and women inspired geniuses, hosted literary and musical salons. Today, the huge benefits that those salons actually brought to art have been forgotten.
New music or early music?
I am open to everything new. And for me, programmes with modern music are an opportunity to get rid of clichés and certain standards of ‘correct’ sound. I think a musician should constantly develop, this is what his competence consists in. The more I am able to do, the more I play different music, the more I understand and love it. When working with new music, the only difficulty is to free your mind from prejudices and reformat it. For me, it's like getting rid of unnecessary thoughts during meditation: the more often you practice, the more awareness you develop.
Your favourite books and movies?
Once I had a huge list of what I should read/watch, but the word ‘should’ created some kind of block in my mind, and I kept putting it off for later. Now I just listen to myself, decide what I want at the moment — this happens not only with books and movies. However, there is one book that I sometimes like to open on any page and immerse myself in a different world — this is Ravel in the Mirror of his Correspondence by Marcelle Gerar and René Chalupt.

Why musicAeterna?
I first heard musicAeterna live at open rehearsals at the Conservatory four years ago, when I just entered my first year. Before that, I had already heard about the uniqueness of this collective. So, when I saw what was happening on stage, a delighted voice sounded in my head: ‘Why, is it even possible?’. Instantly, a professional template was broken, all my attitudes and ideas about how an orchestra should sound were destroyed overnight. The most important thing that fascinated me was the dedication with which each musician played! I told myself that after what I heard and saw, I definitely have to play with the same energy and love for music, no matter what ensemble I find myself in.