28 December 1927
13 June 2016 (aged 88)
Oleg Nikolayevich Karavaichuk (Russian: Олег Каравайчук; 28 December 1927 – 13 June 2016) was a Soviet and Russian modern classical composer, author of music scores for various films and theater performances.
Karavaichuk was born on 28 December 1927 in Kiev, into the family of a violinist who was arrested when Oleg was two years old. From early childhood, he composed music. He graduated from the School of Music at the Leningrad State Conservatory in 1945. In March 1943, he took part in a concert of young musicians in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Conservatory in Tashkent. In 1945-1951 he studied at the Leningrad State Conservatory piano class under Samarii Savshinsky.
He began writing music for films in 1953, which as he claimed was only by circumstance, as other avenues of work were prohibited to him by the KGB.
For years Karavaichuk lived on the 15th Line of Vasilyevsky Island with his mother, in the house between the Sredny and Maly Prospects, close to the park named after Vera Slutskaya. Locals often saw him on the street and in nearby stores. Due to his extravagant appearance and behavior, he earned the nickname "mad composer" and was, therefore, a local landmark.
Karavaichuk collaborated with Sergei Parajanov, Vasily Shukshin, Ilya Averbakh, Kira Muratova (Brief Encounters, The Long Goodbye) and others, including the Russian avant-garde, in particular Sergey Kuryokhin.
He died on 13 June 2016 in St. Petersburg.
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