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Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer


Alexander Gradsky is a well-known personality with versatile talents for poetry, music and vocals. You know, he is one of the founders of Russian rock, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation and the owner of a number of state prizes.
Alexander Borisovich was born on November 3, 1949 in Kopeysk, Chelyabinsk region, into the family of engineer Boris Abramovich Fradkin and actress Tamara Pavlovna Gradskaya. In 1957 the family moved to Moscow, where the boy entered the music school at the age of 9.
Most of all, in his childhood, Alexander was interested in literature and wrote his first poem at the age of 14. Actually, his favorite musicians were The Beatles.
16-year-old Alexander firmly decided to become a singer and a musician. Then he took the surname of his mother and joined the Polish student group Cockroaches. The first song of Gradsky The Best City of the Earth was then performed at many concerts.
In 1969 Alexander entered the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music. Five years later, in 1974, he successfully graduated from the university. Besides, during the studies he received the first experience of solo performances.

Moreover, he became one of the first musicians in the country who bravely experimented with rock. Even in his student years, Alexander created a group Skomorokhi and their repertoire consisted mainly of his songs. The group actively toured the whole country. His popularity at that time was great – the musician gave several solo concerts daily. In 1971, the group also took part in the prestigious All-Union festival Silver Strings and received six prizes of eight.
Solo songs by Gradsky were not the only direction in his work – the musician worked on creating soundtracks to a number of films. A Lover’s Romance, composed and performed personally by Alexander Borisovich in the eponymous film by Andrei Konchalovsky, was a real breakthrough in the career of Gradsky. For this composition he was recognized as the Star of the Year according to the Russian version of the music magazine Billboard in 1974. The experts appreciated the creative activity of Alexander as an outstanding contribution to world music.
In the late 70s Gradsky released several records and became a teacher at the Gnessin Academy and the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS). In addition, he became the author of the rock opera Stadium, which was based on the events in Chile in 1973 and the murder of Viktor Khara. The leading roles were performed by outstanding Soviet artists – Alla Pugacheva, Mikhail Boyarsky, Iosif Kobzon, Andrei Makarevich and Elena Kamburova.

In the early 90s, when Gradsky had the opportunity to perform abroad, he decided to reduce his tour activities, and was engaged in the development of the Theater of Contemporary Music. Nevertheless, even with the “shortened” concert program, he managed to gain popularity abroad – he participated in joint musical projects with John Denver, Lisa Minneli, Dayana Warwick, Chris Christoffersson and other world-famous artists.
In 1997 Gradsky was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Russia, and in 2000 he received the highest honorary title of People’s Artist of Russia. The rock musician was personally congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexander Borisovich is the author of music for several dozen feature films and he’s released 15 discs.
Among his recent works, there is the opera Master and Margarita on which Alexander Borisovich worked for over 13 years.
From 2012 to 2015 Gradsky took part in the show Voice as a mentor. You know, Alexander worked together with his daughter – he invited Masha as an adviser when he had to make a decisive choice. His pupils became the winners of the show. Dina Garipova, Sergei Voltchkov and Alexandra Vorobieva were among them. In 2015, Mikhail Ozerov took the second place in the final.

Personal life
Alexander was married four times.
Natalia Smirnova was his first wife. Alexander calls his first marriage the “youth act”.
Actress Anastasia Vertinskaya was his second wife. They were married from 1976 to 1980.
Olga Semyonovna Gradskaya became his third wife. The couple was together from 1980 to 2003. They have two children – son Daniil Gradsky – (born on March 30, 1981), a businessman, and musician; daughter Maria Gradskaya (born on January 14, 1986), graduated from the Moscow State University, the TV presenter and art manager.
His fourth wife is Marina Kotashenko (born on November 22, 1984). To tell the truth, Marina is 34 years younger than Alexander. In 2014 she gave birth to their son Alexander.

Alexander Gradsky – composer and singer