Crystal Trio is a unique group that performs music using special glass instruments: Glass Harp, Verophone and Glass Pan Flute. There are three professional musicians in the band: Igor Sklyarov, Vladimir Perminov and Vladimir Popras.
Founded in 2003 by Igor Sklyarov (glass harp), the ensemble played annually at the Venetian Carnival, home to a very famous Venetian glass factory. Attracting the attention of concert promoters in Europe and Russia, the musicians recorded with a legendary Rock group from Russia known as “Aquarium”, and the following year they performed with Boris Grebenshchikov (leader of Aquarium) at the Kremlin Concert Hall in Moscow with coverage from national Russian TV stations.
In 2004, the group was invited to play with the Bolshoi Theatre, performing Glinka’s Opera Rusian and Lyudmila, written especially for glass harmonic instruments. This led to further chamber performances and concertos with symphony orchestras in Germany, Japan, and France.
Igor Sklyarov (glass harp) grew up in Barnaul, Russia where he attended the Music College. From 1992-97 he attended the Novosibirsk Music Conservatory where he studied with Professor Chernichka. The following year he joined the Siberian Federal Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments, and he began learning the history and technique of playing glass instruments. In 2003 he formed Crystal Trio.
Vladimir Popras (verophone) from Bratsk, Russia, attended Music College where he studied bayan (accordion). He also attended the Novosibirsk Conservatory under Professor Cherchichka’s tutelage. After performing with various groups and touring worldwide, he joined Crystal Trio in 2005.
Vladimir Perminov (glass pan flute) was born in in Barnaul, Russia where he attended the Music College studying flute. From 1983-89 he attended the Conservatory in Odessa and the University of Arts and Culture in Krasnoyarsk. In 1990 he performed for three years with the Symphony Orchestra of Barnaul; he was also a member of the ensemble “Insula Magica” which plays ancient classical music. He began teaching in 2004 at the Academy of Music in Innsbruck and joined Crystal Trio in 2005.
Igor Sklyarov tells:
“I got acquainted with the glass music already in 1998. One my colleague and friend demonstrated me a new musical instrument that looked like… a set of crystal glasses. “Can you play music with this set?” — I thought. But behind the outside simplicity mystery was hidden: having passed with my finger by the soft glass edge of one of the glasses I suddenly heard unusual — tender and singing — sound. It melted quickly leaving the feeling of magic. I touched the next glass: the sound was the same, but of a different tone. Glasses in the set were sorted out and tuned in such a way that together they compiled a crystal keyboard. You could play anything with it and every melody, modern or classical, acquired special “crystal” sounding.
I was charmed and firmly decided to collect such an instrument myself — as it was impossible to buy it in a musical salon in contrast to a grand piano or violin. Some weeks later, going through the city Gus Khrustalny I went to the glass market. Going form one counter to another I started to derive sounds of the sets there and could not stop already. Sellers from the farthest rows came to look at a crank playing the glasses. Everybody was bringing the packages: “Play mine, they are better!” When in two hours I was leaving the market I had four the most “sounding” sets of glasses in my hands. They became the basis of my first crystal harmonica.
To master the elements of playing even such an unusual instrument was not difficult for a professional musician. Much more time and efforts were necessary to reveal the character, soul of the instrument. I found out that the history of the glass instruments counted several centuries. Once “crystal” melodies pleased the hearings by the Royal Households and closed aristocratic salons. But then crystal harmonica was forgotten and only at the end of the previous century some performers — including us — applied to it again. And we were discovering the new and new planes of this unusual instrument independently and experimentally.
And first of all it seemed that usual glasses do not give all the fullness of sounding. But where should we take the special, “sounding” ones?.. Fortunately, in Germany we met a wonderful master who was like us fascinated by the glass music. His name is Sascha Reckert. It was he who became the author of our Glass Harp and later and the second unique instrument — Verrophone. It was funny to see the reaction of my close people when I told them that that “table set” cost like an automobile, about five thousand euros. However, the glasses cost this money: ideally tuned, they gave exactly that sound that we were dreaming of.
That we were on the right way was confirmed by the praising reaction of the listeners in Russia, Europe, Japan. We were paid attention to and invited to concerts and festivals. And every performance, whether it was a corporative evening or a small concert in the streets of Venice, was an extra lesson for us. We sow how the sounds of crystal reflected in the people’s eyes, how the atmosphere changes, and brought changes into the manner of performing, into the repertoire.
In 2005, the third instrument was added to the Glass Harp and Verrophone. It was the Glass Pan Flute that was created by our colleague Ilya Usatuk and later was completed by Vladimir Perminov. The flute gave pleasant bass sound. It made the sounding of the band deeper and richer.
Today we are the Crystal Trio. The Glass Flute part is performed by Vladimir Perminov, Vladimir Popras is a virtuoso of the Verrophone. I, Igor Sklyarov, play the Glass Harp. Our fingers know every inch of glass verges, but instruments never stop surprise us. The fairy-tails tell the truth: crystal has some magic inside. Perhaps, it`s the recollection of those times, when our universe was gathered of the smallest crystals and the very first melody sounded in the space void.”