Prince Serge Wolkonsky (Сергей Михайлович Волконский; also referred to as Sergei Mikhailovitch Wolkonsky or Volkonsky) (May 4 1860 - October 25 1937) was born on the Fall estate near Revel in Imperial Russia (now Tallinn, Estonia) and died in Hot Springs, Virginia, USA. He was buried in Richmond, Virginia.
He was an outstanding theatrical worker, one of the first Russian rhythmicians, pupil and friend of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, and creator of an original system of actor's training including both expressive gesture and expressive speech.
The Main events of Life
Wolkonsky's mother was Princess Elizabeth (Elizaveta Grigorievna) Wolkonsky, nee Wolkonsky (born 1839). She was a daughter of Grigory Petrovich Wolkonsky (a son of Sophia, a sister of Decembrist Serge Wolkonsky) and Mary A. Wolkonsky (nee Comptess Benkendorf, a daughter of Count Alexander Benkendorf. Princess Wolkonsky, who belonged to the Holy Church, profoundly influenced her son Serge, defining many of his interests including his religious views. Among her friends were the well-known Russian philosopher, theologian and poet Vladimir Solovyov. She wrote some books on religious matters - On Church, Church Tradition and Russian Theological Literature - as well as a book The Family of Princes Wolkonsky. She died on February 15 1897 in St. Petersburg, and was buried in Fall, entailed estate of Count Benkendorf.
Wolkonsky's father, Michael Sergeevich, was born in 1832, in Petrovsky Zavod in Siberia. He was a son of Decembrist Prince Serge Wolkonsky and Mary, nee Raevsky. Ivan Puzschin was his godfather. From his birth, Michael was registered as a serf. He graduated from the Irkutsk gymnasium but wasn't allowed to enter the University as the son of the deportee. However, this reason didn't prevent him from his future career. In 1855, just after the death of Emperor Nicholas I, Michael Wolkonsky reached Russia from Siberia, and by the 1870s had become a member of the State Council. It's interesting to note that this his status didn't prevent him however from publishing the book of his father, "Memoirs of a Decembrist". He died in 1909 in Rome, and was also buried in Fall.
Wolkonsky graduated from the philological faculty of St. Petersburg University in 1884.
In spring of 1893, in the frames of World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago the World's Parliament of Religions was opened. The Russian Orthodox Church categorically refused to be presented there and that's why Serge Wolkonsky, 33 years old layman, catholic of the East ceremony, was there as an official representative of Dep't of Public Instruction. His reports and speeches were of an ordinary style and contents and made a deep resonance there. Messages on Parliament had been regularly published in the journal "Zerkovny Vestnik" ("The Bulletin of Church") in spite of that attitude to the Congress. Wolkonsky's article was published later on in journal "Vestnik Evropy" ("The European Bulletin") .
On December 2nd 1893 he went by ship "Oceanic" from San Francisco, visiting Havai, Japan, China, Araby, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy before returning to Petersburg via Konstantinopol.
Lowell Institute, Boston; Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; Columbia University, NY; Washington Club, Washington, D.C.; University of Chicago; Steinway Hall,Chicago, Ill.; Twentieth Century Club, Chicago, Ill.; All Souls' Church, Chicago, Ill.; Art Museum, St.Louis, Mo.; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.; Carnegie Hall, New York, NY. In April 1896 Harvard University established the Slav Dialects Chair and asked Wolkonsky to teach there.
Wolkonsky was director only during two years 1899-1901. He was able though did a lot: Serge Diaghilev was his immediate assistant and Wolkonsky entrusted he the edition of the famous Annual of the Imperial Theaters in 1900. New names appeared in the Theatres - painters Alexandre Benois, Konstantin Somov, Léon Bakst.
Wolkonsky was forced to send in his resignation after the conflict with Mathilde Kschessinskaya.
The first meeting with Dalcroze. Wolf Dorn. Adolphe Appia. Rhythmics lectures. The beginning of own Wolkonsky actor’s training system. The Courses of Rhythmic Gymnastics based by Wolkonsky in Petersburg. The Leaflets of The Courses of Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Moscow. Rhythmic schools. The foundation of the Rhythm Institute. The false obituaries. A brief collaboration with Constantin Stanislavski.
Petrograd. The last days in Russia. September – December 1921
From February 1926 Wolkonsky lived in Paris. “During this period of his life in Paris Wolkonsky was became one of the most brilliant person of Russian Emigration”. His articles were printed in many journals, and from May 1926 he had began to publish in “Last News” paper, the famous Russian newspaper of Paris established in April 1920. Extensive theatrical knowledge of Wolkonsky, writer skills, the splendid and light language, broad-mind made him the leader among the numerous theatrical critics of Paris. He had became the La Critique éntrangère en France member (his trade-union card is in Bashrushin Theatre Museum in Moscow). In 1929 Wolkonsky was the Tourgenev Society member, he had given lectures about Russian history, literature, culture in many lecture-halls in Paris, Freiburg, Mentona, Lion and other cities. Besides, he went on teaching, gave lessons on Rhythmic, mimicry, expressive movement and speech in numerous ballet and treatrical studios (among them the ones of Mathilde Kschessinska, Vera Trefilov and others). Was the mimicry teacher in Russian Conservatoire and in 1932 had become the Director of Conservatoire. In 1932 also had become the one of the judges of Ballet Contests named as ]]“International Dance Archives”]] (“Mejdunarodny Archivy Tanza”) and gave a series of lectures about expressive movement announced by this Contests. In 1936 was invited by Kurt Ioss ballet school in London, then taught in ballet company of Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin. In this city Wolkonsky met the woman he married, Mary Fearn French. She was the daughter of United States Minister to Rumania and to Greece and Serbia J.Walker Fearn, widow of Seth Barton French and a sister-in-law of the former Mrs. Elsie French Vanderbilt. After the marriage Prince and Princess Wolkonsky went to USA, and there in little town Hot-Springs Prince Wolkonsky died after a brief illness. "His health had been undermined by four years of teaching in Bolshevik schools. 31 October in Russian Catholic church requiem was served, besides relatives there was all Russian Paris
For a full list see please in Russian article.
For a full list see please in Russian article.
V. Gudkova, compiler. N. Kosianova, editor. "'When I Soon Will Be Dying ... ". Correspondence of M.A. Bulgakov with P.S. Popov (1928-1940).(Book review)
Jan 01, 2007; V. Gudkova, compiler. N. Kosianova, editor. "'When I Soon Will Be Dying ". Correspondence of M.A. Bulgakov with P.S. Popov...