“Julia Perminova is a pianist to keep an ear out for — she has an inventive, colorful and poetic musical mind, and I look forward to hearing much more from her in the future.” - Aaron Parks
New album "Freedom"
Russian jazz pianist Julia Perminova recorded her latest album in 2022 at Bauer Studios in Ludwisburg, Germany. It is a musical diary of sorts, in which Perminova shares her thoughts, feelings and experiences on the significance of freedom in one’s life.
Perminova explains that “Freedom is crucial for me to live and create. Without it I begin to wither, like a plant without water. Every track of the album carries a deep meaning for me, and they are all inextricably linked with the concept of Freedom.”
The oldest of the album’s compositions, “Sea Lullaby”, was written in 2018 on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, on which Perminova has spent a great deal of time working as a performer. The piece is both a dedication to the grandeur and vastness of the open ocean, as well as a quiet lament over the lack of freedom inherent to the life of a ship worker, albeit one of occasional luxury!
“Freedom”, the album’s title track, was composed after a return to regular life following Perminova’s time at sea. The piece incorporates some rather difficult musical passages, included as intentional challenges to the performers’ rhythmic independence – in other words, one hand’s freedom from the other while playing.
“Simple Truths” was composed in 2019 during Perminova’s studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. It's about the simple things one begins to appreciate when freedom is limited.
In her own words, “Lost and Confident” is Perminova’s “anthem to the inner state experienced during the pandemic. It was a long and difficult period for me, with closed borders and concert venues. It took time to recover physically and mentally, and I could not write music for a long time. But out of that terrible state, this piece emerged! It is about those who sometimes feel lost, but remain confident that they will find a sense of meaning to guide them through the hard times. For me, music provides such a meaning.”
She continues: “When I was finishing my last semester at Jazz Institute Berlin, I wrote another piece that could be considered an anthem to my life spread out across many different cities and countries.” That piece, “My Home is Everywhere”, emerged from a sense of pride and empowerement that Perminova felt in her ability to thrive despite her frequent relocations. In contrast, her piece “Uncertainty” reflects opposing feelings and the exhaustion she felt upon her recent move to Basel, Switzerland near the end of 2021. The song has a distinct rhythmic instability that mirrors the emotional theme, although Perminova adds that “despite the song’s complexity, the band nailed it!”
“Dear Diary”, the album’s most recently-composed track, is dedicated to Anne Frank. After reading “The Diary of a Young Girl”, Perminova was struck by the young girl’s courage and incredible sense of inner freedom in the face of the horrors of the Holocaust.
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Photos by Dasha Mikhnova
Julia Perminova is a talented pianist and composer. She was born in Tyumen, a city located in the Siberian part of Russia. Julia began her musical journey at the age of 4 when she started practicing music. A year later, she enrolled in piano classes at a local music school. Julia achieved success there, winning a competition for the best school anthem.
In 2005, Julia was admitted to Tyumen College of Arts, specializing in pop and jazz music. During her studies, she caught the attention of professionals and was invited to join one of the finest jazz bands in the Tyumen region, which later became the Governor's orchestra. In 2011, Julia moved to Yekaterinburg, where she played with renowned jazz bands and established her own projects, namely the Free Organ Trio and New Time Quintet.
In 2013, Julia relocated to Moscow to pursue her studies at the Gnessin Academy of Music, from which she graduated with honors in 2017. During her time as a freshman, Julia won several international competitions, including the Kim Nazaretov Contest for young jazz musicians in Rostov-on-Don (2013), the "Grand Piano in Jazz" contest in Moscow (2014), Gnesin's Jazz competition in Moscow (2014), and the Johnny Răducanu International Jazz Festival in Brăila, Romania (2014). In addition, Julia was featured as one of the participants in the International Festival "Future of Jazz," organized by Russian saxophonist Igor Butman.
Julia has also participated in various jazz festivals, sharing the stage with renowned musicians such as Lionel Loueke, Ronnie Cuber, Miguel Zenon, Vladimir Spivakov, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, and others. In 2018, she released her trio album "Revival," recorded in Moscow. That same year, Julia relocated to Europe. In 2021, she completed her European Jazz Master (EuJam) program at the Jazz Institute Berlin in Germany.
Julia actively participates in different international musical projects while leading her own trio. Throughout her studies in various European countries, she has performed her original music at venues such as "Zig Zag" in Berlin, "Sunside Sunset" in Paris, and "Bimhuis" in Amsterdam. In 2021, Julia Perminova released her solo piano album "Imagination," recorded in Amsterdam. She also became a member of the prestigious international jazz program "Focusyear band" in Basel, Switzerland, in the same year, where she regularly performed with renowned jazz artists from New York and Europe. In 2022, Perminova released her second solo album, "Way To My Star." In June 2023, Julia released her latest album, "Freedom," which was recorded with talented young musicians from Germany, Portugal, and Ukraine.