Biography of Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Russian composer born in Petersburgo. He/She studied at the Conservatory of his native city between 1919 and 1925 with Nikolaïev (piano), Steinberg and Glazunov (composition). From 1937 was a Professor of the East Conservatory, at the same time that he/she taught at the Moscow Conservatory (1943-1948). He/She was named artist of the people of the USSR (1954), awarded with the State Prize on five occasions between 1941 and 1952, the Lenin Prize (1958) and the international Lenin Prize (1954). He/She served various official functions and, from 1960, was first Secretary of the Union of composers.

As a composer, Glazunov, and the Russian school in general, influenced in his first works. In 1926 he/she composed his first Symphony, which was surprised by his clear maturity. The second, dedicated to the October revolution, was written in 1927, and the third, titled Mayday, in 1930. Their first creations are marked by contact with contemporary music (Schönberg, Berg, Bartok, Hindemith, etc.), which was still performed in Leningrad. Determining compositions of his first term: Second Symphony, the operas the nose (1927-1930), based on a story by Gogol) and Lady Macbeth de Mzensk (1930-1932), were targeted for criticism. These two last works are a satire of the old regime in Russia and soon achieved great success in England and United States of America, although they were also criticized: led to the censorship of the Union of Soviet composers, that referred to the author of "formalist and insincere" methods used. Years later, Lady Macbeth was modified and premiered with great success in Moscow under the title Katerina Ismaïlova (1962).

After these adverse criticisms, Shostakovich began the composition of the Fourth Symphony (1935-1936) and a new opera. In 1937 he/she created his Fifth Symphony, subtitled which Replica of a Soviet artist to a fair criticism, and that got a wide audience and all the honours of the criticism. In these circumstances, the composer began to play a leading role in the Soviet artistic scene. In total, created fifteen symphonies, of which the USSR were considered most important the first, fourth, fifth, seventh and eleventh. The reputation of Shostakovich was soon claimed abroad: his first Symphony was presented in Berlin in 1933, under the direction of Bruno Walter. In addition to his operas, already mentioned, his ballets, notably the age of gold (1927-1930) are well known. Some of their melodies and rhythms were used as propaganda. In addition, he/she composed incidental music for several plays of Shakespeare, Hamlet, King Lear and Othello.


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