NMR Artist Spotlight: Exclusive Interview with Poet, Dancer, Spiritual Artist Irina Kuzminsky

NMR Artist Spotlight: Exclusive Interview with Poet and Spiritual Artist Irina Kuzminsky (aka Irinushka)

Today on the New Music Resources Artist Spotlight Series we will focus on the mesmerizing music and poetry of Artist Irinushka.

What inspires your music? What is your story?

The impetus to all my work has come from my poetry. In fact, dance, music and poetry have always been a part of my life, and poetry is at the heart of my work. I started writing music as a result of Dancing with Dark Goddesses, a one woman dance, poetry and music fusion performance which I created first to accompany the launch of my first poetry collection Dancing with Dark Goddesses (Awen 2009) at the Heaven's Gate William Blake Festival in England. The show needed a music track and I soon realized I would need to create it myself. Since then I have gone on to perform the show in the UK (Stroud, Bath), New York (Manhattan Theatre Source, Dixon Place, Producers Club), Germany (Saarlouis) and Melbourne (Club Voltaire and most recently Dancehouse for the Melbourne Fringe 2016). 

My poetry has remained the greatest inspiration for my music and I find that it is often the poem or text itself which tells me what the music should be, hence the eclectic mix of styles. I am now more consciously working within the art song tradition and I would like my work to be in its way a part of the evolution of the art song in the twenty-first century. Born in Melbourne of White Russian descent, my background encompasses university research as well as comprehensive training in classical ballet, piano and singing, and wide-ranging performance experience in Australia, Germany and the UK as a pianist, singer and dancer, including recitals, opera, theatre shows, cross-arts projects, and dance theatre.

I completed my BMus Hons at the Melbourne Conservatorium in piano and voice and went on to win a Commonwealth Scholarship to Oxford University. I wrote my doctorate there in Modern Languages and Comparative Literature on the “Language of Women”, and was elected Junior Research Fellow in Humanities at Wolfson College – only to return to doing what I really believe in and love – Music and the Arts. So far I have independently released three albums of my work: the more experimental "Would That I Could" (2011), "Roads Travelled" (2014) which rose to #46 on the global ZoneMusicReporter charts for World/New Age music having received positive press and extensive airplay on US college radio along the way with minimal promotion, and the about to be released "Orpheus Sings" which traverses a wide-ranging mix from contemporary art songs to experimental hybrids, rock opera, New Age folk and spoken word, and theatrical landscapes. A new album, “A Net of Souls”, is nearing completion and is more contemporary classical/experimental in style. My poetry and articles have been published in the UK, US and Australia in the Esoteric Quarterly, Acumen, Poetrix, Arts and Academic Review, poetrychaikhana.com, Caduceus; the anthologies Soul of the Earth (Awen 2011), Diamond Cutters (Tayen Lane 2016), and the collections Dancing with Dark Goddesses (Awen 2009), light muses (with artist Jan Delaney) and Into the Silence (Chrysalis 2016). 

What makes your music extraordinary/different?

My work ranges from contemporary classical art songs to experimental acoustic electronic hybrids, to Celtic and New Age folk and rock opera, ballads and meditative chant. A published poet, my poetry was the direct impetus to beginning to write music, resulting in three completed CDs so far and a one woman dance, music and poetry fusion show, Dancing with Dark Goddesses, for which I wrote the music and the words and did the choreography, my aim being to create a full theatrical experience and musical journey with elements of ritual. As a poet and writer, dancer, singer, composer and performance artist who also holds a doctorate from Oxford University, my art has long centred on the desire to encounter the ‘Sacred Feminine’. That is my core inspiration. I also aim to speak with the voice of a mature woman to a mature audience. I would like my work also to offer a kind of spiritual feminism which could speak to many.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? 

The launch of a new poetry collection, Artists and Lovers, forthcoming with Tayen Lane. Completing and releasing my next album, A Net of Souls, most classical of my work which Gunaraga is part of. Begin work on a musical setting of my poetic work on Mary Magdalene in the manner of a ‘sacred drama with music’ – I have been discussing a collaboration with composer Susan Frykberg who I recently met following a talk I gave on Mary Magdalene. And trying to get YouTube and general promotion of my music happening!!


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