We recall Igor Sorin: music, love and the tragedy of the legendary "Ivanushka"


Remember Igor Sorin: music, love and the tragedy of the legendary

November 10 is the birthday of Igor Sorin, ex-member of the Ivanushki International group: I can’t even believe it, but today the singer would have turned 50 years old. Sorin has not been with us for more than two decades, while his voice is well known to millions of listeners, because he sounds in several of the most high-profile domestic hits of the 90s. We recall how Igor Sorin was and how his short life took shape.


Igor Rayberg (the singer subsequently changed his father's surname to his mother's surname) was born in an intelligent Moscow family and since childhood began to show interest in creativity. According to the parents, Igor grew up an artistic and active boy, but at school he often hooliganized and did not show much interest in learning. The musician’s mother Svetlana Sorina talks about her son’s attitude to school:

There existed a framework, and Igor always strove to go beyond them. His school was in the background. We left parental meetings with bitterness and shame. For some reason, he always argued with teachers, always looking for the truth and fought for justice, upholding his friends.

Igor Sorin in childhood
Igor Sorin in childhood

Parents Igor Sorin
Parents Igor Sorin

When Sorin was 10 years old, he saw in Pioneer Truth an announcement about casting at the Odessa film studio: they were looking for an actor for the role of Tom Sawyer. The boy’s parents sent his photo to the film studio, and Igor was invited to audition. He should have got the main role, but in the end, Tom Sawyer was entrusted to play Fedor Stukov at the last moment (they say he was brought by Nikita Mikhalkov himself, so the other candidates no longer had any chances).

Sorin, on the other hand, got a secondary role, which he took very close to his heart. According to the press, he jumped out of the window out of despair – but, fortunately, there were no injuries. He did not refuse to act and on the set himself performed tricks for himself and other actors. Igor in general, it seems, was not afraid of anything: in his childhood he had fun, clinging to a train and jumping from it at speed.


After the eighth grade, Sorin decided not to continue his studies at school and entered the radiomechanical technical college on the advice of his mother. But he didn’t stay there for a long time: he decided to enter the Gnessin School. Then he was already fond of vocals, but in his spare time he worked part time as a stage worker at the Yermolova Theater.

While studying in Gnesinka, Sorin saw an announcement about the recruitment of artists in the troupe of the Polish musical Metro. Among the few who went through the casting, besides Igor was Andrei Grigoryev-Appolonov – then the future soloists of the Ivanushki International group met.

Andrey Grigoryev-Appolonov and Igor Sorin
Andrey Grigoryev-Appolonov and Igor Sorin

The musical troupe left for the USA to perform on Broadway, toured Europe, then the artists were transferred to Poland. They say that Sorin really missed his friends and relatives, so he returned to Moscow, although he, the only one of all, received an offer to study in New York. Instead, Igor continued his studies at the Gnesinsky College and began to write songs with another colleague in the musical Metro Anton Derov.

Igor Sorin in the USA
Igor Sorin in the USA

The era of "Ivanushka"

Andrei Grigoriev-Appolonov was acquainted with the producer Igor Matvienko, who in 1994 decided to create a boy band. Grigoryev-Appolonov was taken to the team immediately, despite the fact that in dances he was much stronger than in vocals. Andrei invited his friend Igor Sorin to try on the role of one of the soloists. Matvienko liked him and took his place in the group. The third soloist was Kirill Andreev, who worked as a model for Slava Zaitsev and starred in music videos.

Igor Sorin, Kirill Andreev, Igor Matvienko and Andrey Grigoryev-Apolonov
Igor Sorin, Kirill Andreev, Igor Matvienko and Andrey Grigoryev-Apolonov

Group "Ivanushki International"
Group "Ivanushki International"

This is not to say that Ivanushki woke up famous. At first, the group performed free of charge on graduation and recent calls in Moscow schools. Even when their first video for the song “Universe” was already played on TV in full swing, there was not much success. Matvienko even considered dissolving the team, already not believing in its promise.

It was decided to take a chance and shoot a video for the song "Clouds" to the music of Matvienko and verses by Alexander Shaganov. Initially, by the way, the track was supposed to be performed by Yura Shatunov, and "Ivanushki" was planned to shoot a video for the song "Raspberry". But it so happened that it was from the premiere of the video "Clouds" on the male trio that the real glory fell. The team began to tour nonstop, the girls went crazy, the soloists now knew absolutely everything in the country by sight.

Sorin became the author of the texts of some songs that Ivanushka sang: “Sunflower”, “I am looking for her”, “Somewhere” – these tracks were included in the list of major hits in the history of the group.

Not everyone knows that the song “You Understand” is written on Sorin’s poems, which instead of “Ivanushki” was sung by the participants of the “Star Factory” Igor Matvienko Pavel Artemyev and Irina Toneva – and then it became a national hit.

In rare breaks between tours, Igor continued to record new songs separately from “Ivanushki” together with Anton Derov. They even created their own musical project, calling it the first letters of their surnames – "SD project". In an interview for MK-Boulevard, Derov said:

It is difficult to unambiguously determine its musical direction – this is the blues, and soul, and jazz rock. Poems are also different: from pure lyrics to philosophical banter. We all composed on equal terms. Sometimes Igor brought ideas, sometimes he agreed with my ideas … Being engaged in pure pop music in the group “Ivanushki”, Igor yearned “for real creativity”.

But the songs of the "SD project", of course, in popularity could not even be compared with the hits of "Ivanushki", without which no chart could do without at that time.

Not like everyone

Sorin always stood out and was different from others. Even his conversations with reporters little resembled standard interviews with pop stars. In them he spoke of the following about himself:

I was on the other side of the barricade. He wrote poems that I still can’t comprehend. I had a shift in my childhood; I began to write without going into the essence of poetry. It’s just to write, to endure the knowledge that is in every person. And creativity and the desire for music also distinguish people who really feel the time – this distinguishes them from people who don’t feel anything except lust, alcohol abuse and things that pseudo-replace life and freshness.

In an interview, Igor could deal with unexpectedly serious topics, he easily talked about death:

I used to be afraid of death, I had such a period when I started thinking about it. And then I realized that she can only be an adviser, a friend. Knowing that there is nothing harder and worse than the touch of death, you begin to feel that the rest does not matter. And this is what is given to us. Death is always with us on the left side. It makes no sense to be afraid of anything at all.

Sometimes he introduced into a stupor of journalists lengthy thoughts about the meaning of life, about what love means for him:

Few people even know what love is. When a person recognizes her, he goes to the monastery, to the forest. Because love is not earthly. This is a flash. This is a fight against loneliness. We walk through life, fight with loneliness. But a person cannot have a common world with someone, a person is like a single planet, which exists according to its own laws. Can two planets be together? They can. But after a while the spark goes out. Because due to the collision of the two planets, something third is born, and if the third is not given, then the planets collect some missing links, some information that is missing from each other, and scatter in order to search and form further.

Personal life

Speaking of love. Even in the first year of the Gnesinsky school, Igor fell in love with Valentina Smirnova, who studied with him. Subsequently, the girl began to write songs for famous artists, worked as a backing vocalist with Valery Meladze, starred as an actress in the program "OSP-studio" and other projects.

Sorin’s feelings were mutual:

We had one vocal teacher in Gnesinka. I remember I went to class, and Igor sang there. It was love at first sight absolutely for sure

– said Smirnova in an interview with "Interlocutor." They almost immediately began to live together, the romance lasted two years. Then the paths of the lovers parted: Igor went to Warsaw to work in the musical, Valentina stayed in Moscow. She recalls:

Feelings may not have passed. But the story is over. We had a check for lice: we passed it in a worthy manner. But nevertheless, when so much moral effort is invested, something is lost. We were so close when we traveled to each other. I remember jumping from the train. And when he returned to Moscow, it turned out that we were like different people.

After breaking up with Valentina, Igor began dating Alexandra Chernikova. They met when the girl was a freshman at the Gnesinka’s conducting faculty, and were together until Igor’s death, although they had never officially married.

Sorin's mother says:

I remember when Igor brought Sasha to our house to get acquainted, I was amazed: a young 18-year-old lady in a strict suit next to my experienced son, a student (Igor was then in his fourth year) looked like the model Becky Thatcher near the bully Tom Sawyer.

Alexandra Chernikova
Alexandra Chernikova

Leave so as not to interfere

One can only dream of such popularity that “Ivanushki” had in the 90s, but Igor was quickly tired of endless tours, filming and tantrums of female fans. And most of all, from the need to sing something that did not fit his own taste. In addition, he could not stand performing under the soundtrack and was even embarrassed to call on the concerts of his former vocal teachers, fearing their reaction.

Mom singer Svetlana Sorina recalls:

Igor closed up, began to go into philosophy, in order to somehow escape from the machine that was grinding it.

According to her, Sorin was not interested in singing the light pop hits that the numerous fans of the group liked so much. I wanted to perform deeper songs, but as part of the team he was deprived of this opportunity. He decided to leave the group, although Andrei and Kirill tried to convince him that it was unreasonable to leave the team at the peak of success.

The journalist Otar Kushanashvili, who was friends with Sorin, wrote after his death:

Andryukha Grigoryev-Apolonov told me that all three had different attitudes towards the furor: he, Redhead, calmly and proudly – they had long gone to success; Cyril with irony. And Igor, this ubiquitous screech was simply frightening and annoying: he considered the triumph fainted, undeserved, inadequate. He became more and more withdrawn, kept aloof at concerts, they told me that it got to the point that Sorin, while the other two were playing on the stage, stood behind the curtains and from there gave a voice.

In the end, it bored everyone. The gap was inevitable.

In the spring of 1998, Igor’s resignation from Ivanushki was announced; on March 3, he performed with the group for the last time. Speaking to the press about his decision, the artist honestly admitted that he could not fully realize himself within the collective: for example, the producers of the group considered his poems unsuitable for the Ivanushki repertoire and recommended that Sorin “show them to friends”. Igor told reporters that this state of affairs has ceased to suit him:

The fact is that, unfortunately, “Ivanushki” are of no scientific value. We are only satisfied with the attitude of our producer. Only he can decide something. But I do not want to sing for little girls and cause their unhealthy interest during puberty.

Farewell to the collective that made him a star, Sorin did not consider tragedy. He said in an interview that he was full of hope and plans:

I do not have problems. I am leaving the group, but this is not a problem. On the contrary, I wait and rejoice that I will leave and do something. I’ll stop fooling around, playing and doing the circus. It so happened that I got into a very limited story. Both musically and literary, and my nature rebelled, because in these two years I have known everything – fire, water and copper pipes. I want to leave so as not to interfere.

According to him, he "grew up" from the era of "Ivanushki" and now wanted to sing "songs about freedom, about happiness, and not about snot, designed for 14-year-olds."

Instead, he was picked up by another soloist – Oleg Yakovlev, who, as is often the case in such cases, fell into fan anger: they began to compare the new singer with Sorin who left the group. These comparisons did not stop all the time that Oleg sang in "Ivanushki".

The second composition of the group "Ivanushki International"
The second composition of the group "Ivanushki International"

New ideas

Sorin finally became free and got the opportunity to do his work. But the proposals regarding his future career only upset him: the producers of the ex-Ivanushka’s solo work weren’t particularly interested, or they put too unfavorable conditions on him. The musician’s mother tells:

He asked the producer to take at least half of his earnings, but everyone wanted at least 70 percent. I saw him lying all day on the couch in a dark room, staring blankly at the TV. He just faded away. No desires.

But gradually, Sorin began to come to an understanding of what he wants to do next: he had long been passionate about ethics, collected musical instruments from the peoples of the world, and he wanted to combine ethnic sound and electronic music in his work. Artist's mom explains:

In his music, he strove to come from nature, so he collected sounds such as birds singing, splashing waves, the sound of rain. And in verses he inspired nature and lived by its images. Igor wanted to return to what he had long before the “Ivanushki”, to his first tunes, written back in Gnesinka.

In the summer of 1998, Igor met with the head of the electronic label Cosmos Production, Mikhail Maslov. He called him on a cruise along the Volga with a company of creative people, among whom were the musicians of the "Code of Ethics", Bogdan Titomir, one of the founders of the domestic rave movement Timur Lansky and others. Sorin’s mother says that after meeting these people and that journey, Igor came out of the creative crisis, caught fire with new ideas:

I was so happy for his condition. It was the former Igor, as I saw him three years ago, before the Ivanushki in Gnesinka. He was completely our Igor. We were so good that I thought: "It doesn’t happen."

Finding like-minded people, Sorin made plans for his future project – he wanted to do something fundamentally new and unusual, completely different from everything he did within the group:

I want to combine music and theater in my project. Perhaps it will be a musical … For Russia, this is a completely new aesthetic … With my work, I am going to return the Russian language to the songs and claim a new musical style.

Svetlana Sorina said:

He conceived his project as a theatrical show-tale, where the hero, in search of happiness, finds himself in different countries, in different cultures: from the peoples of the North, where the harp sounds, to Africa, where they play tom-toms, then to India and China with their string sounds. All this action was conceived with beautiful scenery, dancing and the marvelous voice of the protagonist.

It seemed that at that time Igor had a real reassessment of values:

I understand how people are wrong, limiting themselves to the nature of money, the nature of show business – far-fetched, hackneyed, tortured. But there is new knowledge, a new vision of the world,

He said in an interview.


Igor began to actively communicate with colleagues involved in electronic music: DJ Grove said that Sorin wanted to collaborate with him, and work began on Igor’s joint tracks with the electronic group DSM Formation. Sorin's poems and melodies acquired a new electronic sound. What happened – you can imagine by listening to their joint track "Mermaid".

The musicians of the DSM Formation are the last to see Sorin before the tragedy of September 1, 1998.

They worked all night on new tracks in an apartment on the sixth floor of a Moscow house. In the morning, Igor offered to have a smoke break and went out into the kitchen, but he never returned from there. He was found lying on the ground, and on the balcony there was a note with the words: "To My Family. Mom. Dad. Sasha. That's all. But like a poetry, a nestling is born. Fly."

After falling from the balcony, Sorin survived, but his spine was broken. Doctors fought for his life, but told the musician’s relatives that if he survived, he would remain paralyzed for life. Igor’s mother recalls:

Я видела в реанимации такое спокойное лицо. Он мне сказал: "Мама, поцелуй меня". Я поцеловала. И тогда я поняла, что это конец. Но ему я сказала: "Все будет хорошо".

Спустя три дня после происшествия Игорь скончался в реанимации. Ему было 28 лет.


Что именно произошло в то утро — до сих пор остается тайной. Сразу же заговорили о самоубийстве певца, пошли слухи об экспериментах с запрещенными веществами, о том, что он был пьян. Впрочем, по поводу версии с алкогольным опьянением главврач больницы, куда доставили музыканта, после происшествия сказал:

Я официально заявляю, что эти слухи не имеют под собой никаких оснований. У каждого больного, поступающего к нам по скорой помощи, мы берем анализ крови на содержание в ней алкоголя. В крови Игоря его содержание — ноль. На присутствие наркотических препаратов тесты не проводятся.

Родные и друзья Сорина, несмотря на его перепады настроения и творческие неудачи в год гибели, отказались верить в то, что он покончил с собой. Пару лет назад Андрей Григорьев-Апполонов рассказал в телевизионном эфире, что мама Игоря считает его смерть непредумышленным убийством:

Игорю в ходе какой-то легкой заварушки в квартире свернули шею, вынесли на улицу, положили, вызвали милицию, скорую, проплатили по-взрослому, все-таки это был не обычный человек, а суперзвезда, и ретировались из страны. Потому что когда я навещал Игоря в больнице, у него не было синяков, с 6-го этажа ты упадешь без синяков?

Впрочем, в пользу этой версии весомых доказательств нет: журналисты "Комсомольской правды" разыскали хирурга, оперировавшего Сорина, но тот подтвердил, что травмы, которые были у музыканта, могли быть получены только после падения с высоты. В прессе также говорится, что поскольку в квартире шла работа над музыкальным материалом, все время был включен микрофон — и он не записал ничего необычного.

Другой бывший коллега Игоря по группе — Кирилл Андреев — считает, что Сорин не совершал самоубийства, а стал жертвой несчастного случая:

Андрей (Григорьев-Апполонов. — Прим. ред.) рассказал мне, что есть версия убийства. Я не в курсе, кто крутился в то время рядом с Игорем, но считаю, что это был несчастный случай. Сам он этого сделать не мог: он любил жизнь, записывал альбом… Это не самоубийство!

При этом в прессе есть упоминания, что в больнице Сорин некоторое время находился в сознании и подтвердил, что сам выбросился из окна. Об этом же говорит Отар Кушанашвили, хорошо знавший певца:

Я не верю в то, что Игоря кто-то подтолкнул с подоконника или еще что-то. Я разговаривал с врачом, который находился рядом с Игорем в момент смерти. Врач сказал, что он был в полном сознании перед смертью и уверял, что никто не виноват и что выбросился он из окна сам.

Другое дело, что в последнее время рядом с Сориным находились какие-то ублюдки. Где он с ними знакомился, не знаю. Но это были такие экземпляры! Они кричали: "Ты наш Курт Кобейн!". И, когда ранее Игорь вставал на подоконник и произносил: "Я улечу к звездам и там буду счастлив!" — эти ублюдки ему аплодировали. Я проклинаю себя за то, что не взялся в свое время за него жестко. Не устроил взбучку: дескать, так жить нельзя! Он же после "Иванушек" хотел сочинить нечто гениальное. Садился работать в надежде, что наутро появится хит. Но хит не появлялся, и Игорь очень расстраивался.

Продюсер "Иванушек" Игорь Матвиенко высказал предположение, что причиной трагедии все же стали наркотики.

По словам Светланы Сориной, они с мужем не понимали, как жить дальше после случившегося. В их собственной семье наступил кризис: Владимир загорелся идеей снова стать отцом, но не хотел усыновлять ребенка. В этот период частой гостьей в доме стала 19-летняя Анна, преданная фанатка Игоря. Постепенно девушка сблизилась с отцом погибшего кумира, несмотря на то, что Владимиру было уже за 60. Мужчина развелся с женой и женился на Анне, сейчас у них двое сыновей.

Светлана тяжело переживала предательство мужа, но, как говорит, смогла его простить. Через некоторое время она тоже встретила свою вторую половину.

С друзьями сына мы выпускаем сборники стихов Игоря, книги воспоминаний, устраиваем вечера его памяти,

— рассказывает мать певца. После гибели Игоря Светлана приняла решение помогать детям: она устроилась на работу в детский центр, где оказывают помощь трудным подросткам.


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