The new ballet score, based on motifs from the Lermontov novel A Hero of Our Time, was commissioned from the very young (32-year-old) Petersburg composer Ilya Demutsky who, though not averse to experiments, keeps to a fairly traditional musical language. However his acute interest in contemporary topics which finds reflection in his music, and his outlook immediately indicated that the ballet version of Lermontov's Pechorin would in no way be a younger brother to the 'Byronic' Conrad in Le Corsaire.
The fact that the ballet was to be produced by the avant-garde theatre director, Kirill Serebrennikov, was a further guarantee of this. In 2011 Serebrennikov filled his Bolshoi Theatre production of the opera The Golden Cockerel with contemporary allusions and four years later in ballet he demonstrated the unfailing relevance of the ideas and images in A Hero of Our Time for the present day.
Responsible for giving form in dance to the conception was Yuri Possokhov, the esteemed choreographer in residence to San Francisco Ballet. It was also in this city, incidentally, that Demutsky completed his musical education and was the winner of the annual San Francisco Conservatoire Jim Highsmith Composition Competition (2008), as a result of which Lilith, his tone poem for large orchestra, was performed by the Conservatoire Orchestra.