Internationally renowned Russian baritone Vladmir Chernov joined the Music Department faculty at UCLA In January 2006 as a Professor of Vocal Studies.
Vladimir Chernov was born in a small village near the city of Krasnodar in southern Russia. Although there was no established musical tradition in his family, music was an important part of family life. His grandmother had a beautiful soprano voice and sang often. Both parents played guitar and mandolin, and frequently brought the family together for evenings of music. He was aware from childhood that he had a special gift and dreamt of dedicating his life to vocal performance and theater. Everyday radio and gramophone played famous classical works, opera, operetta, folk songs, symphonies, ballet music which had a significant influence on young Mr. Chernov.
Mr. Chernov began his vocal training in 1974 with Mikhail Chugunov in Starvropol before being admitted to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. At the Conservatory, he studied with Gyorgi Selesnev and Gugo Tiz. Soon after graduating from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mr. Chernov was accepted as a soloist at the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg in 1981. Success in various competitions followed in the same year after his debut at the Kirov Opera. At the Glinka Vocal Competition in Moscow, he took second place and was given a Special Jury Prize for folk song. Over the next few years, Chernov achieved more notable success in other major international vocal competitions including: the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1982) where he was awarded third place, Voci Verdiani in Busetto (1983) where he won the special Carlo Galeffi prize, and the Miriam Helin Vocal Competition in Helsinki where he was given first prize and the Tito Gobbi Award (1984). Throughout this time, Mr. Chernov studied with Giulietta Simionato at the prestigious Accademia della Scala di Milano.
As a soloist of Marinsky Opera house, his repertoire included Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Shelkalov in Boris Gudonov, the title role in Eugene Onegin, Count Yeletsky in Pique Dame, and several other roles in contemporary works. His concert repertoire included art songs and cycles by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Borodin, Glinka, Arensky, Rubinstein, Balakeriv, and Dargomyrsky. He also frequently performed several oratorios and cantatas by J.S. Bach and works by Scarlatti, Gluck, Hayden, and Handel with organ throughout Europe and Russia. His devotion to German classical art songs was essential. He sang several cycles of Schubert such as Die Schoene Mullerin, several cycles by Gustav Mahler including Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen, Ruckert Lieder, Kinder toten Lieder. His collaboration with living Russian composers during this period, such as Georgy Sveredev, Valery Gavrilin, Petrov, and others was an extremely important part of his artistic growth. He is also known for his unique expression of the bel canto repertoire and has been hailed as one of the leading Verdi baritones in the world. Mr. Chernov’s rich vocal tone, unmatched acting ability, and impeccable musicality are recognized and praised throughout the operatic world.
Several years later, Mr. Chernov met Tamara Denisova, a vocal technician and coach, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tamara introduced him to essential basic principles of vocal technique and different approach to singing. The technical change allowed for more freedom in his voice, and thus more career opportunities.
From 1984 to1989 Mr. Chernov toured in Bulgaria with Ruslan Pravchev and Emil Chakerov, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Finland. Mr. Chernov opened the 1987 season on a tour with the Kirov Opera in Covent Garden with performances of Eugene Onegin (title role), Pique Dame (Yeletsky), and Roberto Devereux (Roberto). Gaining international notoriety, he was invited to the United States to sing the role of Marcello in La Bohème (Boston) and Posa in Don Carlo (Los Angeles). Over the following years, Mr. Chernov debuted at houses worldwide including Glasgow (Don Carlo in La Forza del Destino), Covent Garden (Figaro in Il Barbiere di Sigivlia), Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Miller in Luisa Miller), and Seattle (Andrei in War and Peace). He performed the role of Foscari in I Due Foscari at Carnegie Hall in 1991, and soon made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Miller in Luisa Miller. He then became a featured artist at the Metropolitan Opera, and performed in multiple productions of Don Carlo, Il Trovatore, Stiffelio, Simon Boccanegra, La Traviata, La Bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and various gala productions. Chernov’s success at the Metropolitan Opera was followed by further successes at San Francisco Opera (Ezio in Attila), Vienna Staatsoper (Yeletsky in Pique Dame and Ford in Falstaff), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera), Paris (title role in Simon Boccanegra), Teatro alla Scala (Stankar inStiffelio). In 1988, he collaborated with Tarem Quartet, a Russian Folk instrumental group.
Mr. Chernov has also been featured in countless festivals, solo recitals, and galas. He has appeared in the Salzburg Festival, Munich Opera Festival and various houses including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Arena Verona, Opernhaus Zurich, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Opera, and Seoul. As a recital artist Vladimir Chernov has appeared at many of the world’s leading venues including the Wigmore Hall in London, Lincoln Center in New York, Alice Tully Hall in New York, Vienna Konzerthaus, Los Angeles Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, Moscow Philharmonia, St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and many other cities. He sang several song cycles accompanied by Vladimir Yurovsky with various orchestras including the London Symphony. In addition, he performed and collaborated with Daniele Gatti. He also sang many performances under the baton of Maestros Claudio Abbado, Juri Timarkanov, Seiji Osava, James Levine, Zubin Meta, Valery Giergiev, Marcello Viotti, Fabio Luisi, Roberto Abbado, and Heinrich Heider.
Mr. Chernov began the 2005/2006 Season by adding three more roles to his repertoire. He performed concert versions of Herod in Herodiade, Dandini in La Cenerentola, and sang the title role in Nabucco. The same year, he sang and recorded a concert entitled “Pauline Viardot and Friends” with Marylin Horne as narrator at Wigmore Hall in London, in San Francisco, and Paris. The following years brought more international success with performances of La Traviata in Brussels, La Forza del Destino in Tokyo, Eugene Onegin in Spain, Madama Butterfly in Los Angeles, La Boheme in Spain, Il Signor Bruschino in Graz, and Don Giovanni in Spain. In Spain he sang in Bilbao, Oviedo, Santander, Pamplona, Salamanca, and Barcelona, and has sung in every major opera house in Italy and Germany. In France, he sang in Lyon, Marseilles, Nice, and Toulouse. In addition, Mr. Chernov was invited to Seoul to perform a solo recital at the Hyundai Music Center with Semion Skigin.
In 2010, Mr. Chernov performed the role of Giorgio in Los Angeles Opera’s world premiere production of Daniel Catan’s Il Postino. In the same year, he performed the role of Count Capulet in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. His performance of Count Capulet was hailed as “a marvel” and “a standout performance.” His solo recital tour continued when he performed a new composition entitled “Four Noctunes for Voice and String Quintet” by Ian Krouse. The following year he sang premier performances of “Duarate’s Love Songs,” described by their composer Roger Bourland as part of an “opera in progress” with librettist Mitchell Morris.
Vladimir Chernov has been an active member of various international competitions. In 2008, he was a member of the jury of the Jose Iturbi Competition in Los Angeles. He is also a permanent member and head of the international vocal competition in St. Petersburg, 300 Years of Classical Art Song. In 2011, he was an acting member on the jury of the Concours International Competition de Chant des Chateaux en Medoc in Bordeaux, France. In 2012, he was member of jury Nadezhda Obukhova Classical Voice Competition in Lipetsk. In October 2012, he was the head of the vocal jury for the Vissi d’Arte competition in Prague, Czech Republic.
More recently, Mr. Chernov has appeared in many concerts internationally. He sang with the Los Angeles Balalaika Orchestra in various venues over the past four years throughout Los Angeles including the Colburn School of Music, UCLA Schoenberg Hall, and in San Diego. He also gave several recitals with UCLA philharmonia. He gave several master-classes and recitals in Toulouse, Vols am Schlern, North Italy. He was part of the UCLA tour in Armenia where he performed works by Shostakovich and “Noctunes for Voice and String Quintet” by Ian Krouse. In June of 2013, Mr. Chernov performed a solo recital with Warren Jones and taught several private lessons and open masterclasses at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
Mr. Chernov is currently a permanent professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and has students all over the world. Young singers are drawn a combination of his unique technical approach and his incredible musicality. As a teacher, he is constantly in the dynamic process of profound acknowledgement of important skills required for his young students.