Peeter Volkonski (b. 12. IX 1954) is a singer, actor, theatre director, children’s author and translator.
Volkonski was born in Tallinn. He graduated from number 1 secondary school in Keila in 1972, and in 1976 from the 7th class of the Drama Faculty of the Tallinn State Conservatoire. Peeter Volkonski is descended from the Volkonsky noble family. His father was the composer Prince Andrei Volkonsky, and his mother is the writer Helvi Jürisson. Peeter Volkonski is known as a charismatic personality, and his mere appearance on the stage is always much anticipated.
Volkonski became famous with the punk band Propeller, especially after the band was banned following a concert that culminated with a youth unrest in 1980 in Kadriorg Stadium. During the 1987 Tartu pop music festival he left an unforgettable impression with the songs by his band ROSTA Aknad, in which a parody of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poems could be discerned. Volkonski’s rebelliousness was aristocratic and inimitably elegant.
In his poems and song lyrics he indulges in dizzy somersaults of word-play. He wrote the libretto to the composer Alo Mattiisen’s ‘risotorium’, Roheline muna ('The Green Egg'). Volkonski has also penned books of poetry for children, and a collection of jokes, Volgi naljad ('Volk’s Follies'). He has translated from Ancient Armenian the Nutulaulude raamat ('Book of Lamentations'), by Nareki Grigor, which dates back to the 10th century (published 2017). Volkonski has also translated prose and poetry from Russian, Finnish and Moldovan (Romanian), Mordvin and the dialect of the Russian Old Believers on the shores of Lake Peipsi.
For years Volkonski has been giving courses of lectures at the Viljandi Culture Academy on world cultural history through music.
For his work as an actor Peeter Volkonski won the Suur Vanker ('Ursa Major') award in 1997. In 2001 he was awarded the Order of the White Star, Class V. In 2009 he was granted the title of Tartu Culture Bearer.
L. P. (Translated by C. M.)
Books in Estonian
Onu Volgi värsiaabits. Tallinn: Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, 2004, 72 lk.
Kabriolett. Tallinn: Kirilille Kirjastus, 2006, 6 lk.
Notsu-traktorist. Tallinn: Kirilille Kirjastus, 2006. 6 lk.
Karukell ja kellakaru. Tallinn: Eesti Ajalehed, 2010. 63 lk.
Onu Volgi tarkuseraamat. Tallinn: Menu Meedia, 2020. 61 lk.
ISBN 978-9985-9980-6-9. Tallinn: Menu Kirjastus, 2009. 157 lk.
Volgi naljad. Tallinn: Tammerraamat, 2016. 239 lk.