Sergey Starostin was born in a musical Muscovite family: his father was a good singer while his grandmother introduced him to Russian folk tales and songs. He sang in a boy's choir before studying clarinet at the Moscow Conservatory.
Sergey's interest in folk tales and folk music kept growing even while he was studying classical music and whenever he travelled around the then Soviet Union he would collect stories, songs and traditional instruments (some of which have changed little since medieval times). He now divides his time between presenting seminars, radio and TV programmes on Russian folk music and making music.
Starostin is not just a gifted musician and musicologist, he actively seeks out and works with musicians who share his passion for exploring the tradition sounds of the tundra. Across the last twenty five years he has been involved in countless projects. In Russia Starostin is best known for folk-rock fusion outfit Farlanders, a band he leads with rock singer Inna Zelanaya.
Internationally he is best known as one third of Moscow Art Trio. In 1990 composer/pianist Mikhail Alperin, horn player Arkadijh Shilkloper and Starostin formed the Trio. They have toured their unique blend of classical and Russian folk traditions widely. Alperin became Professor of Piano at the Oslo Music Conservatory in the early '90s and set about directing a striking vocal project: he brought together Angelite, a four woman Bulgarian vocal choir, and Huun Hur-Tu, the striking throat singers from the Southern Siberian region of Tuva. Adding Sergei Starostin was the master touch and their CD The Bulgarian Voices - Fly Fly My Sadness (Jaro) comes highly recommended.
While in Scandinavia Starostin encountered noted Lapp vocalist Mari Boine and sang on her album Winter In Moscow (Jaro). His most high profile UK work so far has been at the 1999 Edinburgh Arts Festival. Here Starostin reunited with the Bulgarian women and the resulting album, Serey Starostin's Vocal Family - Journey (Jaro), was recorded live at Grey Friars Kirk in Edinburgh. Eerie and moving, Journey demonstrates how the five vocalists managed to blend Bulgarian and Russian traditions through interpreting folk songs.
'Because Russia is so vast the styles of singing vary enormously,' says Starostin with obvious satisfaction, for he will never tire of new partners to work with.