This winter the Lyceum group will celebrate its 30th anniversary. It turns out that the female trio, which once blew up the air with a hit about autumn, can be attributed to the “long-livers” of the national stage: yes, the group still exists! And their biggest hit this year is celebrating their 25th anniversary. An excellent occasion to remember other songs of “Lyceum”, as well as to find out how the life of the brightest soloists of the group developed.
How it all began
The female trio was created in 1991 by producer and musician Alexei Makarevich, formerly the guitarist of the Voskresenie rock band, cousin of the leader of the Time Machine Andrei Makarevich.
The first soloists of “Lyceum” were Alexei's stepdaughter Anastasia Makarevich (the singer herself says that she always treated her stepfather as her own father), as well as Lena Perova and Izolda Ishkhanishvili. At the time of the creation of the group, Nastya and Isolde were only 14 years old, Lena was 15.
The first composition of the Lyceum group: Elena Perova, Anastasia Makarevich and Izolda Ishkhanishvili
The girls met in the vocal and choreographic group “Children's World” (later – the Moscow Children's Variety Theater). Anastasia in “Lyceum” from the very beginning was an unofficial leader: at performances she took a place in the center, the main vocal parts in the songs were also given to her.
Alexey Makarevich explained his decision to create a “guitar” female collective as follows:
I felt a strong underrealization of my own in the field of playing the guitar, in particular in the “Resurrection” team. And from my subjective point of view, this was the main motivation to return to the fold of the recognizable and respected again. And by the time Anastasia was approaching the age when it was possible with her girlfriends to make a group and make them a testing ground for the realization of my imagination, I realized that there was no better candidate for the implementation of mercantile, creative, ambitious plans.
Elena Perova, Anastasia Makarevich, Alexey Makarevich and Izolda Ishkhanishvili
The name “Lyceum” did not appear immediately: at first the group was called “Vacations”. For the first time, the girls performed on the stage of the “Soundtrack” program in October 1991, and you can even find a recording of their debut on the Internet. There was no recognizable “lyceum” image of girls with guitars at that time.
But the date of foundation of the “Lyceum” group is December 12, 91st. Exactly two months after their debut on “Soundtrack” Nastya, Lena and Isolde took part in the then megapopular program “Morning Star” – already under a new name. It was decided to abandon the “Vacation” in favor of the “Lyceum” literally behind the scenes of the program. The girls performed the song One of Us by ABBA.
The first song, written especially for them by Alexei Makarevich, – “Saturday evening” – the girls sang in the spring of 1992 on the First Channel, on the “MuzOboz” program.
In 1993, his debut album, House Arrest, was released, and the title song from it gained some popularity. The sound-producer of the album is Alexander Kutikov, a member of the Time Machine group. He also worked on the girls' second album – “Friend-Night” – it was released a year after the first.
In those years, the soloists graduated from school, so the group could not yet actively tour, they limited themselves to performances in clubs and at national team concerts. The “Ovation” award in the “Discovery of the Year” nomination was a confirmation of the successful start.
Anastasia Makarevich recalls:
When Dad started writing the third album, he said: “Let's make an album now and see if there is any breakthrough, we will continue.” A lot of effort was invested, but the expected return did not occur.
The turning point was the appearance of the mega hit – the song “Autumn”, which in 1995 soared to the top lines of all possible charts in the country.
Anastasia says that a week after the release of the song, the girls woke up famous – everything changed in one moment:
The song “Autumn” fired, to be honest, unexpectedly … A good song at a concert catches even with one guitar. Somehow it all came together in this song. Then we went on a long tour, I remember the overcrowded halls, several concerts a day, as the hall sang with us. Until now, at our concerts this song is expected, and loved, and sung.
According to the story of the permanent soloist of “Lyceum”, initially the text of the song was different: instead of “autumn-autumn” the words “school-school” sounded. However, Aleksey Makarevich, this text, written by another author, eventually rejected and undertook to compose the words himself, and then asked Mikhail Tanich, the famous songwriter, founder of the Lesopoval group, to correct them.
Aleksey Makarevich himself talked about the creation of the hit in an interview that was later included in the book “Don't be shy. The history of post-Soviet pop music in 169 songs”:
When “Autumn” appeared, I was thinking: either I am burying the project, or something must happen. The second album of “Lyceum”, “Friend-Night”, came out not very successful, and I realized that I no longer had any strength – neither moral, nor physical, nor material – to continue. Then I was doing repairs in the apartment, I did not go anywhere for ten days, I was doing the filling of the walls, and during the repair I composed the song “Autumn”. To be honest, then I did not see anything special in her. I am a reasonable and philosophical uncle, but sometimes I do not see the significance of some things that are under my nose. I didn't understand why everyone liked her so much, only then I understood – but I was happy like a soap bubble.
Change of line-up
In 1997, when the group was still at the peak of popularity thanks to the success of “Autumn”, the composition of the band changed for the first time: Lena Perova left it. The soloist did not like the fact that Nastya Makarevich remained the lead vocalist, Lena wanted to develop and move on. And when her brother, host Sergei Suponev, then already a star of domestic TV, invited her to host the program “I'll Sing Right Now”, which he produced, Perova immediately agreed. Alexey Makarevich did not approve of this idea, but Lena did not refuse the proposal:
Tired of standing on the backing vocals, I wanted to show myself somehow. We shot a bunch of episodes in a few days. And then in the “Lyceum” I was given a condition: if three programs go on the air, I will be fired. And so it happened. I left the group, handed over all the costumes, left for a month to rest in Portugal,
– she later said.
Lena calls parting with her Lyceum colleagues and producer “not the easiest one”:
I was kicked out of the group. It was disgusting that the other two girls did not take part in the discussion of this problem. They stopped greeting me backstage. Passed by, as if I didn’t,
– said Perova in an interview for MTV.
Anastasia Makarevich speaks about the change in the composition of the group:
We have always had a very friendly and creative atmosphere, because there is no other way. If there were disagreements, then “everything was decided on the shore.” We had a contractual relationship, the conditions are absolutely normal. It was even more of a labor agreement. Circumstances developed in different ways, the team changed. Some left for family reasons. Well, there was the loudest story with Lena Perova. She was fired because she did not fulfill the terms of the contract. I don’t want to talk about it too much.
The first composition of “Lyceum”, as is often the case with pop groups, is still called “golden” by many. Alexey Makarevich expressed his own opinion on this matter:
As for the composition of the Lyceum group, which some consider the best … It's just that these artists were in the team at the moment when Autumn appeared. If there were others, they would become popular. Until “Autumn” no one took them seriously, did not personify and did not say that they were, say, Nastya, Lena and Isolde. It's just that when the song makes the artists famous, everyone takes out their magnifying glasses: “Well, well, who do we have here?”
Plus Anna, minus Isolde
After Lena Perova left, Anna Pletneva took her place in the group. They were looking for a replacement urgently, and in just a couple of weeks the new soloist had to not only learn the songs, but also learn how to play the guitar – more precisely, its imitation.
The second composition of the Lyceum group: Anna Pletneva, Anastasia Makarevich and Izolda Ishkhanishvili
Anna fit well into the group, but then she said that she tried to adapt to the image offered to her:
The producer of the project prepared roles for us – we were supposed to be boys, such girls from the neighboring yard who just stand and play the guitar. We were strictly forbidden to be sexy, we only had to move on stage in a certain way, and so did we look. I was constantly fined for being too bright on stage.
Soloists of the Lyceum group and Alexey Makarevich
And in another interview, Anna spoke even more frankly about working in a group:
In “Lyceum” I was not a soloist. Another girl and I were two inconspicuous figures around Nastya Makarevich. Nobody noticed me then. Producer Alexei Makarevich, in fact, just set this task – so that we do not shine. I still remember how they tried to dress me absurdly, to braid my braid so that I would not be so spectacular. All the time they told me: “Why are you wagging your hips so terribly like an obscene woman.” They said to stand upright, hold the guitar and pretend that I was playing it. This framework was very suppressive to me. I always wanted to go somewhere further.
Nevertheless, Anna spent eight years in the Lyceum, leaving the group only for a short while, when her daughter was born. During Pletneva's stay in the team, quite popular songs were released “How did you dream about him”, “She no longer believes in love”, “You will become an adult” and others.
During the same period, changes took place in the group again. In 2001, Izolda Ishkhanishvili left – according to her, the cause was fatigue.
We toured literally every day for 10 years, we lived in euphoria. We didn't know a normal life. I decided to take up my personal life and try myself in something new,
– Ishkhanishvili explained later.
Her place was briefly taken by the singer Svetlana Belyaeva, then she was replaced by Sofia Taykh.
The third composition of the “Lyceum” group: Svetlana Belyaeva, Anna Pletneva and Anastasia Makarevich
The fourth composition of the “Lyceum” group: Anna Pletneva, Anastasia Makarevich and Sofia Taykh
Anna Pletneva left the group in 2005 and almost immediately became a soloist of the Vintage project, created together with Alexei Romanoff, in which she finally took a central position.
Only Anastasia Makarevich remained in the “Lyceum” group from the original composition, later in different years several more soloists performed with her.
On August 28, 2014, Alexey Makarevich died suddenly. Anastasia admits:
The most difficult period for me is when my father passed away … And in general, the most difficult period is to lose loved ones. At such moments, you become an adult.
Anastasia and Alexey Makarevich
After the tragedy, the Lyceum group did not cease to exist. Nastya Makarevich says:
I took the project into my own hands. Along the way, I will never give up “Lyceum”. I have been doing this since I was 13 and I don't see any other life for myself. I took on the responsibilities of a producer, director. Then there was still not the best period for the “Lyceum”. But I found people who were ready to help. We recorded an album, went to concerts, invitations. Somehow it all stirred, healed again. The group has a rich history, and Lyceum is already a brand. “The main baggage for every artist is the repertoire,” said dad. We have a lot of good songs, and they are always expected and demanded, they sing with us at concerts – and this is the most important thing.
What soloists are doing now
So, the Lyceum group, although not everyone knows about it, exists to this day. The official instagram account of the Nastya Makarevich & Lyceum group has not been updated for a couple of years, but the group's website has a schedule of performances – the trio gives concerts in different cities on a regular basis.
The eighth composition of the “Lyceum” group: Anna Shchegoleva, Anastasia Makarevich and Sofia Taykh
Regarding the current stage of the Lyceum's creativity and its future, Anastasia says:
I don't know whether Lyceum will fire again or not. There is no longer such a frenzied popularity that was in the 90s, but we are not chasing it. We already have loyal listeners. Of course, we will also surprise you with new songs. The world is changing and we are no exception. There will be a new format for the sound of songs. But they will remain the same kind, sincere, interesting.
Anastasia is married to lawyer Evgeny Pershin. Their eldest son Matvey is 18 years old, he plays football, he is even a member of the Moscow national team. The youngest son Makar is 11 years old.
Anastasia Makarevich with her family
Elena Perova, after leaving the Lyceum, did not disappear anywhere – a year later, viewers saw her as part of the new project Amega, where, in addition to her, Aleksey Romanof and Oleg Dobrynin sang. The group did not exist for long, released only two albums, but managed to record one big hit – the song “Fly”.
However, in “Amega” Lena was in the background, which is why she soon left the group. She tried to build a solo career – in this she was helped by Yuri Usachev from the “Guests from the Future” group.
She tried to leave traditional pop music in the direction of pop-rock, having gathered her own group “Perja”.
Since the early 2000s, Perova began to try herself as an actress, and she began with a high-profile project – the film by Philip Yankovsky “On the Move” with Konstantin Khabensky in the title role. By the way, on the set, Lena and Konstantin became so friends that the actor then starred in her video for free.
It was a shame when the yellow press wrote that we had an affair with him after the death of his wife, with whom I was also very friendly. I still regret that I did not have time to see her before she left,
– Lena said in an interview.
Subsequently, Perova starred in several more films, including Andrei Konchalovsky's Gloss and the popular TV series Margosha, where she had one of the central roles.
Lena's career on TV and radio was successfully developing: for several years in a row she hosted the music show “Life is Beautiful”, was the host of several radio programs, and even was the editor-in-chief of the directorate of music and entertainment programs on Channel One.
A heavy blow for her was the tragic death in December 2001 of her brother Sergei Suponev: the 38-year-old TV presenter had an accident while riding a snowmobile. And in 2013, Suponev's 28-year-old son Kirill passed away: Perova's nephew committed suicide. At that time, in 2013-2014, the press wrote that Lena was experiencing depression and abused alcohol, she was detained for drunk driving. In the fall of 2014, she was admitted to the hospital, according to media reports, after taking too much of a dose of certain medications.
Recently, Perova appears on the screen not as a presenter, but as a guest – and even then not very often. In 2021, however, she became a participant in the new season of the reality show “The Last Hero. Champions Against Newbies”, but her stay on the project ended in a scandal: the organizers were outraged by the fact that in the very first issue Lena decided to leave the show and asked other participants to vote against her.
Very little is known about Perova's personal life. According to media reports, during the period of leaving the Lyceum, she divorced her husband, the son of a major official. Then Lena said that it was a marriage of convenience. As far as journalists know, the singer never married again.
Izolda Ishkhanishvili, a couple of years after leaving the Lyceum, founded her own collective called Chocolate. However, according to Wikipedia, “her group never appeared on stage.” But Isolde herself began to appear more and more often in the secular chronicle, and in the press they started talking about her as the “wife of a wealthy man” and “a resident of Rublyovka.” The singer married the St. Petersburg businessman Dmitry Desyatnikov, in 2012 they had a son, Edward.
Everything is so good that I myself cannot believe it. I have a home, a family, and I have no plans to return to the stage yet
– Isolde said when asked about the possible continuation of her musical career.
Of all the Lyceum soloists, Ishkhanishvili is now the most distant from show business: she does not give interviews and does not participate in TV shows. Judging by her instagram, Isolde travels a lot and still often attends social events.
Izolda Ishkhanishvili with her son, 2015
But Anna Pletneva, on the contrary, is much more famous today than during the Lyceum – thanks to the numerous hits of the Vintage group and her sexy image (she was on the lists of the most attractive women in the country more than once).
Having already created the Vintage group with Alexei Romanov, I realized that sexuality is a part of me. I could be myself for the first time
– the singer admits.
Anna is married for the second time, her husband is businessman Kirill Syrov. At the moment, Pletneva already has three children: daughter Varvara is 18 years old, daughter Maria 15, son Kirill 12.
Anna Pletneva with her daughters