Mariana Kroutoiarskaia

1941 – 2000

by Tamara Beywl

Composer and music producer, Mariana Kroutoiarskaia was born in Moscow on October 11, 1941. During the wartime bombardment of the city, the family was evacuated to Kamenez-Uralsk, returning to Moscow at the end of World War II. Kroutoiarskaia’s musical talents became evident very early on, so that she was sent to the musically-oriented Gnesin school, which she attended from 1949 to 1961. From there she proceeded to the Gnesin State Institute of Musical Pedagogy, where she studied concurrently in two faculties: piano (1961–1965) and musicology and composition (1961–1966). From 1962 to 1967 she served as leader of the institute’s orchestra.

On completing her studies, Kroutoiarskaia worked as a music editor in the literature and drama department of Russian Central Television (1967–1987), while at the same time teaching and contributing to musical projects. Something of a workaholic, she also lectured on an honorary basis, delivering a series of lectures on music dramaturgy in television at the Institute of Television (1982–1989) and another on the history of musical culture at the Vladmir Nemirowitsch-Dantschenko College of the Moscow Academic Arts Theater (1991–1992). In 1991 she became a member of the Society of Filmmakers.

In September 1971 Kroutoiarskaia married Alexander Zajcev, who from 1961 to 1966 had studied at the Nemirowitsch-Dantschenko Institute, where he became a lecturer on stage design. He died in Germany in 1998. The couple had no children.

Kroutoiarskaia’s numerous musical activities included supervision of the arrangement and publication of music for children by various composers (1987–1989), of forty musical settings of poems by Pushkin, “Ne poj, krasawitsa, pri mne” (1990–1993), a collection of arias for male voice by Tchaikowsky (1992–1993), and books on Johann Sebastian Bach by Alfred Schweitzer (1993–1994). Not only was Mariana Kroutoiarskaia active in various publishing houses, associations and colleges; she also composed the music for numerous films or participated in their production.

Her major compositions for films include the music for The Man from Archangelsk (Gosteleradio Moscow, 1986); The Might of Solowetsk (Mosfilm, 1988); More Than Here (Studio TTL, Moscow); From the Abyss (Okomedia, Austria, 1991); Mirror Splinters (FR3, France, 1992); The Knight’s House (Canal, France, 1993); Lucky to Be Born in Russia (ARTE, France, 1994); and The Quaking World (Canal, France, 1995). A number of films in the creation of which she was involved were screened at international film festivals. These include The Knight’s House (Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, 1994; International Film Prize, Washington DC, 1994; Europrize, Portugal, 1993); Mirror Splinters (Golden Gate Award, International Film Festival, San Francisco, 1993; Italian Prize, International Film Festival, Rome); The Might of Solowetsk (Best Film of the Year, Moscow, 1988).

A change of direction in Kroutoiarskaia’s work occurred at the end of 1994, when she moved to Germany. Her mother had died prior to Mariana’s departure; her father and brother had left for Germany some time earlier. She lived in Berlin from 1996. After a period of transition, she was able to establish herself professionally, though not as firmly as in Moscow. She soon succeeded in overcoming the original language barrier and also in creating a new circle of friends, who treasured and supported her because of her warmhearted, vivacious personality. In 1998 she became a member of the German Association of Composers.

As a composer, music producer and supervisor, Mariana Kroutoiarskaia dedicated her entire life to music, film and television. Perhaps because she usually worked behind the scenes and was of small, delicate stature, she appears initially not to have been acknowledged by many people. But whoever came to know her better was usually overwhelmed by her energy, her love of life and her creative capacity.

Mariana Kroutoiarskaia died in Berlin in May 2000, leaving behind her an extensive range of composition and numerous people in Moscow, Berlin, the United States and elsewhere, who love and preserve both her artistic creations and her human accomplishments.


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How to cite this page

Beywl, Tamara. "Mariana Kroutoiarskaia." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on July 9, 2020) <>.


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