Born in Tula, in 1955, Sergey Rudnev demonstrated musical talent at a young age. In 1971 he entered the Tula Music College to study bayan (the Russian accordion invented in Tula) and balalaika. Having worked out the essentials of guitar playing without tuition owing to the lack of a guitar class at the college, he began private lessons with the Moscow guitarists V. Slavin and P. Panin. From 1975 to 1977, as a student at the Tula Military College, he played for the garrison orchestra. Having completed his national service, he opened his own class of classical guitar in Tula.
In Moscow in 1980 Sergey Rudnev met the notable Argentinian guitarist, Maria Luisa Anido, a meeting which changed his attitude to guitar techniques and altered the focus of his musical activities. Since then, Rudnev has become well-known as a guitar composer. His first compositions were influenced by Western music and jazz harmonies. But eventually he became attracted to Russian traditional music and made arrangements for guitar based on folk-songs and dances, which he played in recitals. Since 1996, Rudnev has been Cultural Programmes director for the Leo Tolstoy State Memorial Museum-Estate, Yasnaya Polyana, as well as music director of the Children’s State Philharmonic.
After a concert at the Column Hall of the Union House, Moscow, Rudnev met Matanya Ophee and as a result a selection of his guitar music was published by Editions Orphée in 1994. Ophee has described Rudnev’s works as outstanding ‘for their carefully thought-out structure and composition’, some being ‘lyrical in nature while others carry a more dramatic presence’. After a childhood in the small village of Osinovka, Sergey Rudnev, an avid collector of traditional Russian folk-songs and dances, was strongly influenced by the rich musical culture of his native environment.
Sergey Rudnev has said his purpose in writing music is ‘to create complete works for the guitar built upon popular Russian folk songs using folk and classical techniques’. His compositions ‘strive to emulate the sound of the orchestra within the limited boundaries of the guitar’, and he likes to use the entire range of the instrument, utilising the higher register to explore ‘its expressive timbre’.