1. When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I started composing when I was 7. Later, in music college, my great passion was Paul Hindemith, especially his Mathis der Maler Symphony. Also, I used to listen to rock music, such as Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, especially art rock (prog rock) as Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson etc. A bit later I was fascinated by blues and blues-rock, especially of the 1960-s.

2. What are currently your main compositional challenges?

To build a small universe in every work.

3. What do you usually start with when composing?

I think about the composition idea and its possibilities.

Nikolay Khrust
Nikolay Khrust during a performance.

4. How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience?

I think that contemporary compositions can reach the attention of the appropriate audience. ‘Appropriate audience’ is any kind of people who will be ready to open their minds. It’s not obligatory for people to read tons of books about contemporary music (sometimes the education ‘cargo’ could be a barrier for open-minded perception). It could be even children (and I know some of them who like or at least are interested in contemporary compositions).

5. Please recommend two artists to our readers that you feel deserve their attention.

I collaborate not only with composers, but also with sculptors, visual artists. For example, I make interactive sound installations in collaboration with them. So, I’ll recommend one composer and one visual artist I collaborated with: Alexey Nadzharov and Dmitry Kawarga.

6. You have written music for various instruments. Where do you usually find inspiration for sound ideas for those instruments?  

First of all, from the instruments themselves. I have a home collection of about 250 various musical instruments (we collected it together with my father Konstantin Mulin).

7. You already know about Symbolium. Do you think it is a good resource for contemporary classical music composers and if yes, in what respect it is good for them?

Yes, it is a very nice project: a very clear exposition of all techniques. The videos help to show how the techniques should be performed. I’m also very glad to see a wide range of references to classics of the XX century music and to the works of the newest composers.
As a specialist in this topic, indeed, I would like to discuss some details. For example, you can see that the flute Tongue Ram is notated in seven different ways etc. But those topics are for geeks like me only 🙂

Tongue Ram8. What advice would you give to young musicians/composers?

My experience tells me that the French students’ motto of the 1968 year was right:

Be realistic, demand the impossible!