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'When you know what you want, Moscow will be there to help
you out'

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My name is Ksenia. I am a native of Moscow. I work as a singer and a singing teacher

On music and fears

I was born in Moscow. I have lived, studied and worked here my whole life. Moscow has given me every opportunity to realise my dreams and aspirations. Moscow is not some magic place, but when you know what you want, it will be there to help you out.

I was a good student in secondary school, with all kinds of talent and a love for music, but somehow I ended up graduating from law school. I must have thought that being a lawyer makes you feel particularly secure in life. However, I did not have the slightest desire to work as a lawyer, so I went and completed a second graduate degree, this time in voice training. It is a mistake to compromise on your dream, and music was always my guiding light. I was fortunate enough to realise this before it was too late to pursue my dream.

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On peacefulness and Krutitskoe Podvorye

I was four when I first decided to tie my life to music. I watched some children's concert on television and thought: 'I can do better than that'. I was born in Tagansky district, with many children's interest clubs right by my house. I took classes in dancing, acting, and I went to a music school.

When I was about five, my grandmother took me to see a church choir at the Krutitskoe Patriarch's Residence. That was how I found out what acoustics means: it's when the voice is amplified by being reflecting off the walls. I met my future vocal teacher Maria Ivanovna that day. We would have our lessons in a monk's cell inside Krutitskoe Podvorye. That place has remained special to me ever since: I go there to recharge and get inspired. It is the only place where I can truly relax and feel at peace.

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About jazz and wanting things

When I was 14, I came to my music school one day and said: 'I want to sing jazz'. I remember my teachers' quizzical looks and smiles. They asked me to name my favourite jazz performer. Crickets. I could not recall a single name, I was in a kind of stupor. But I was so exuberant with enthusiasm that it shined through that embarrassing moment somehow. I started studying very diligently. I learned to play the trumpet, which would prove to be a helpful skill in the jazz world. I have performed solo and with big bands and won dozens of international competitions. I have been on the show Golos, and I have been a featured artist at some other high-profile competitions in Russia and abroad.

I completed my postgraduate course and honed my own teaching methodology. Since that time, I have been sharing my knowledge, my background and practical skills with children and students. I teach pop and jazz vocals. It makes me feel proud to see my students, much like myself at one time, come into their own, enrol in university-level music schools and make their ideas work.

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Of horses and men

I remember these stables close to our house. I went there for my riding classes. I was deeply passionate about it, I even dreamed how I would get my own horse someday and it would live on the balcony of my flat (even though the flat we lived in had no balcony). Those were all childish dreams, of course, like dreams of a pink pony.

There was a riding ring next to the former bird market where I went to practice my horse riding. My first horse, a stately, graceful animal, was named Ryzhik.

If you get me talking about horses we'll be here all day. Once you fall in love with horses, you're in it forever. The rapport between the animal and you, the trust, it's a very delicate relationship. Fortunately, there are places in Moscow where people are serious about horses, love them, feed them and take good care of them.

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On my favourite places

There are places I call 'my own' in Moscow, places where I tap into a source of energy, and to which I always want to return. One is the area around Dostoevskaya Metro station, especially Yekaterininsky Park. I enjoy taking walks here, and when I do, I leave my worries, chores and trivial stuff firmly behind me. The sound recording studio that changed my life is in that neighbourhood.

Another place that's dear to me is the Russian Army Theatre, even its architecture. Yet another is the Moscow City business district, which some find intimidating due to its grandeur, but others find inspiring.

Moscow is a city of contrasts. Here, enormous skyscrapers coexist in harmony with cosy little villas proudly displaying their precious historic façades, and buzzing corporate centres adjoin trim and tranquil parks. Moscow is a reflection of my own worldview. Everything intersects there: the old and the new, the rigorously structured and the improvised, the fast and the measured.

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About the people whom Moscow loves

Moscow is a complicated city. It is quite jealous and intolerant of those who only come here to have fun. You have to have character and know what you want. You don't come here just with a dream; you come with a goal, when you know what you're aiming for.

'It is as if this ever-changing, ever-improving city were telling you: "Get better! Be more like me!"'

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The special Muscovites project is dedicated to the heroes of our city: ordinary people with their own views on Moscow. You can meet them in a café, on the street, at the theatre or the supermarket. Perhaps, you sat across from their table, stood in the same queue or were on the same bus late to work just yesterday. Muscovites, let's get acquainted.

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