Music Upbeat: Identity crisis

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The Independent Culture
ON the programme for the Joyful Company of Singers' concert at St Giles, Cripplegate, on 10 March is the name of Smirnov - fashionably enough, since the husband- and-wife composers Dmitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova fled from the then USSR to Britain. So the singers' conductor Peter Broadbent thought, after he heard the work in question in St Petersburg and acquired scores.

Back in London, he praised it to Smirnov's face. The response was unexpected. 'I know the music,' Smirnov said, 'but I didn't write it.' But the composer's name is correct. It's just that Dmitri Smirnov, born 1952 and resident in St Petersburg, is not Dmitri Smirnov, born 1948 and currently composer- in-residence at Keele University. There are, the latter added, another two Dmitri Smirnovs active in contemporary Russian music. And we thought it was confusing to be called Bach.