Victoria Borisova-Ollas


"A composer with a sparkling individual voice"
Michael Church/BBC Music Magasine

"The orchestrator of the greatest virtuosity"
John Allison/The Times

Wings of the Wind

"Her Wings of the Wind is a highly effective, episodic and atmospheric response to the text of Psalm 104 ..."
Stephen Pettitt/The Sunday Times

"Borisova-Ollas exploits the timbral possibilities of the symphony orchestra with astonishing imagination and superb technical perfection. She is in the process of developing a completely original music language of enormous emotional intensity - if indeed she hasn´t already done so long ago."
Mats Liljeroos/Hufvudstadsbladet, Helsinki

The Kingdom of Silence

The Stockholm-based Borisova-Ollas is an obvious master of orchestration, revealing a command of instrumental coloring that is instantly ear-catching, and she has a pronounced gift for using that sonic palette. "The Kingdom of Silence" is beautifully structured out of an old-fashioned model — an arc form. It begins and ends with exquisite subtleties from the percussion section. In between, a narrative of sorts unfolds. The composer has written that the title refers to the afterlife, which makes it easy to imagine all sorts of things in the music. A sense of unearthly, shimmering calm gradually gives way to more turbulent activity, as if triggered by memories of what was lived, won and lost. The return to soft and slow is achieved with remarkable nuance; the orchestral sounds suggest the aural equivalent of starlight. It's just as easy, of course, to consider the piece abstractly, which in no way limits its appeal. Either way, the music speaks. And it benefited Friday from the refined playing by the BSO under Boreyko's astute guidance. All in all, a most atmospheric, absorbing experience.
Tim Smith/The Baltimore Sun

Symphony no 1, The Triumph of Heaven

"With her expressive and methaphysical attitude, Victoria Borisova - Ollas is absolutely unique in Sweden. In her Symphony, there is the same nervous touch, the same high tension and hot-temperedness, the same passion for an almost erotic game, with colliding harmonies and extended climaxes, as in Skriabin`s "Le divine poème". The excitement lasts through the whole piece. Borisova - Ollas is able to create a charged atmosphere and she knows perfectly well how to use her weapons."
Thomas Anderberg/Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm

"Her fantasy for the orchestral sound and it`s colossal dynamic power is impressing... She has a good command of the orchestra and shows both well controlled eruptive energy and glimmering harmonies. The last minutes of her Symphony might feel a little bit eclectic but I found them very gripping. Not only interesting or skilfully written but really gripping."
Carlhåkan Larsen/Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Malmö


It's really extra everything!
SR Kulturnytt

Golden Dances of the Pharaohs

"She explores the clarinet as if a conjurer’s wand and lets the soloist play with techniques suggesting a tone that might have surrounded the Egyptian sovereigns. With the use of circular breathing Martin Fröst conjures up a phantom behind the clarinet as if Tutankhamun were to suddenly discard his bandages to tell us of his short life as sun king and cripple. A chaotic vision of desert sands and dance rise from a string tremolo, accompanied by percussion rhythms and Klezmer-like virtuosic clarinet cadences. Borisova-Ollas sometimes works in the Russian composer’s School with stylistic principles and the golden mask of the Pharaoh seems to awaken her associations with luring danger – using the clarinet's unfinished cry as the signal of a consummate catastrophe."
Sofia Nyblom (Svenska Dagbladet)

"With Martin Fröst as the soloist Golden Dances of the Pharaohs become an almost ecstatic dance procession from the past with the clarinet as the lead singer. ... A wondrous song from an ancient realm that reaches very far this evening."
Martin Nyström (Dagens Nyheter)

"Victoria Borisova-Ollas starts off from Herodotus Egyptian travel reports and the result is a breathtaking musical journey that ends too soon."
Gunialla Brodrej, (Expressen)

A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake

”...a delicious glowing sound palette of the best Russian-romantic brand
Camilla Lundberg, Dagens Nyheter

The opening concert of the season begins with the performance of "Dracula" composer Victoria Borisova Ollas' first Violin concerto. Concerto starts off rocking leisurely, like a giant's gait. The solo violin, performed by Baiba Skride is joining in sometimes with straight and aggressive staccati, sometimes with swirling dance moves, playful pizzicati and melancholic portamenti. The orchestra set is generously seasoned with sounds of gongs, harp, celesta and bells. The work is inspired by the story of "Swan Lake", and some sequences are both dreamy, fabulous and painful as those in Tchaikovsky's ballet. Soloist Baiba Skride demonstrates her entire impressive map of colors, sounds and technical skills.
Gunilla Brodrej, Expressen

Baiba Skride's ”swan princess” seems to be fighting her fight on the shore of a lake which is on the way to evapouration during the climate warming. Trapped in a marching ostinato, she struggles to rise above the crashing ice masses. In the middle part of the Concerto, the voice of the solo Violin seems to be built into a fragile glass cage of harp, chimes and celesta, and flutters against the bars of the cage in a solo cadenza rich with overtones. The dreamy ending finally lets her sail away above the melting water with her wings spread. The narrative is built of contrasts between darkness and light, in folk-style melancholy that dresses Baiba Skride's skillful play.
Sofia Nyblom, Svenska Dagbladet

Oh Giselle, remember me...

”In Victoria Borisova-Olla's orchestral works, the stories are always embedded in a luxurious, colorful sound bed and just waiting to be awakened. So is it with Oh Giselle, remember me, the Cello concerto that is being performed in the Berwaldhallen. Giselle is the second part of the diptych whose first part met the audience during the Stockholm Konserthuset's seasonal opening this year, the Violin concerto A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake. In Adolphe Adams's "Giselle" from 1841, the main character gets her heart broken by a man... Borisova-Ollas is a master architect who lets the listener step right into the middle of the story of Giselle, in a buzzing, humming forest of sound and gesture. The phenomenal cello soloist Truls Mørk , who according to the composer embodies Giselle`s cruel lover Albrecht, is swaying in the middle surrounded by the sounds of glittering glockenspiel, chimes and the brass section's dark depths. As in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, he is searching for his Dulcinea, but is assaulted by supernatural Wilis instead of fighting with windmills. Sometimes pizzicati and woodwinds are reminiscent of the music of Adolphe Adam, but above all, Giselle has a grander darkness and contains even stronger contrasts than A Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake. A very beautiful Cello concerto which sparkles with both hope and anxiety.
Sofia Nyblom, Svenska Dagbladet

Psalm 42 Wie der Hirsch schreit

"The 42:nd psalm [Psalm 42 Wie der Hirsch schreit] is transformed into an imaginary operatic scene. Complex rhythms, archaic power and minimalistic threads of sound are interchanged with a mixture of a kind of overfilled children´s room and agressive asceticism. The composer searches for paths to God in the musical ruins of our time - with feverish intensity and thrilling piquancy."
Felix Stephan/Berliner Morgenpost, Berlin

The Ground Beneath Her Feet

"[The premiere of The Ground Beneath Her Feet] was no ordinary Hallé concert, but the latest genre-busting premiere in the Manchester International Festival. And an epic multinational effort it was, too: a Russian composer's concert adaptation of Salman Rushdie's sprawling novel about a tragic love-triangle involving two Bombay rock stars and a voyeuristic photographer. It included a silent film, quirkily shadowing the action, by the British director Mike Figgis, while on the platform Alan Rickman narrated the story and two singers took the parts of the main protagonists.
Complicated? Perhaps. But Rushdie's novel is itself a many-layered thing: a magic-realist fable, echoing the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, that evokes the glad 1950s dawn of rock music, its hedonistic heyday, and then its slow crumble into cynicism and sterility. To condense all that into 90 action-packed minutes, yet tell the story so lucidly and movingly, was a considerable achievement on the part of the composer, Victoria Borisova-Ollas, and her librettist, Edward Kemp.
Borisova-Ollas's lushly cinematic score has its estimable features. It is orchestrated deftly ... And it is capable of portraying not only intimate moments of lovemaking but also the earthquake that swallows up Vina, the wayward rock-chick who is the story's "Eurydice" figure."

Richard Morrison/The Times, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Open Ground

"Russian-Swedish Victoria Borisova-Ollas' fabulous Orpheo-rhapsody, with the title Open Ground, commissioned by The Baltic Sea Festival, is inspired by Salman Rushdie's novel. It starts as a whisper from an underground world and gradually develops into a musical thriller in which the orchestral "monster" is awakening in pulsing cascades, only to be buried, late on in a sad idyll of oriental colours."
Sofia Nyblom/Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm

"[Open Ground] is an effectively mastered composition. It is certainly going to be performed around the world as often as some of her earlier works. Very few [composers] have the same feeling for sonic colours and energetic motion in the orchestra as Borisova-Ollas."
Thomas Anderberg/Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm

"[Open Ground] is a dazzling, inspired composition... Borisova-Ollas is obviously fond of percussion and employs the full spectrum of the section to great success throughout"
Patricia Wetzel/El Paso Times, El Paso

Behind the Shadows

"... a sparkling poetry of sound"
Martin Nyström/Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm

Adoration of the Magi in the snow

"... Adoration of the Magi in the snow is a very exciting and solid composition"
Mats Åberg/Tidig Musik, Stockholm