Follow the Fellow #1

Monthly notes from Les Vynogradov

15. März 2024 | Les Vynogradov

A portrait of inm felllow Les Vynogradov
©Lisa Korneichuk

Hi! I’m Les Vynogradov and this is »Follow the Fellow«.

I am INM’s new fellow (Weltoffenes Berlin, danke schön!) and in this series, I invite you to follow me in my sonic, spatial, and existential explorations of Berlin. I promise to be brief, not bore you to death, and to bring you a little gift from Ukraine in each episode!

So, who’s this Fellow guy? I’ve spent the first 32 years of my life in Kyiv studying French literature (being a Georges Perec fanboy, to be more precise), playing in doom metal and post-rock bands, and managing contemporary art projects. I helped IZOLYATSIA build a new community in Kyiv after Russians turned its huge post-industrial art center in Donetsk into a prison in 2014. I was the Head of Visual Art at the Ukrainian Institute, a state organization promoting Ukrainian culture internationally. For me, art and culture have had much more to do with real, palpable social and political change than ivory towers.

In 2021, I moved to Chicago with my wife who studied there and that’s where we met the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ironically, it was also on the shores of Lake Michigan, 5,000 miles from home, that I joined Kyiv Contemporary Music Days (KCMD), a concert and educational platform for new music I’ve been working with to this day. Without KCMD, I wouldn’t have known the beautiful people of INM/field notes, and without INM, I wouldn’t be here today. Mysterious are the ways of Neue Musik!

And that is how after Chicago, Illinois I ended up in Berlin, which Mark Twain affectionately called the »Chicago of Europe.« And that’s where we are now.

I promised you a gift from Ukraine. Last week, KCMD, with the support of INM, brought one of Ukraine’s most talented violinists, Orest Smovzh, to play a very special show… at a bar in Kreuzberg. »Condensed Music« was a mosaic of over 80 pieces and improvisations from 4 to 110 seconds long, hand-picked and carefully assembled by Orest. With stuff from Peter Ablinger to John Zorn while also featuring works by obscure and non-professional composers, it was »a bit punk a bit crazy a bit contemplative a bit inebriated a bit nostalgic for unseen Berlin,« to quote Orest himself. Below are a few snippets of that madness for you to get the taste.

Don’t miss Orest’s next concert when he’s in town. And I will keep you in the loop of the upcoming KCMD events and share my other curious findings in the next episodes.

That’s all for now!


»Follow the Fellow« – ermöglicht im Rahmen des Stipendienprogramms »Weltoffenes Berlin« von der Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt.

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  • Les Vynogradov
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Zum Weiterlesen

An abstract portrait of Les Vynogradov

Follow the Fellow | Notes from Les Vynogradov

The monthly column from the inm fellow.

Blossoming rhododendrons on a lake

Follow the Fellow | Notes from Les Vynogradov

The monthly column from the inm fellow.

Nachthimmel über Berlin

Follow the Fellow | Notes from Les Vynogradov

The monthly column from the inm fellow.

Himmel über Berlin

Follow the Fellow | Notes from Les Vynogradov

The monthly column from the inm fellow.

Ganna Gryniva

Ukraine und Jazz

Seitdem mit dem Angriffskrieg russischer Truppen auf die Ukraine am 24. Februar ein schon lange schwelender Konflikt in unserer direkten Nachbarschaft eskaliert ist, hat sich der Alltag ukrainischer Musiker*innen in Berlin drastisch verändert. Schnell wurde reagiert – schon ab der ersten W...