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Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich

Russian composer and pianist

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet-era Russian composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century and one of its most popular composers.

Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of the Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex relationship with the government, from which he earned state awards and privileges. Throughout his life he participated in bureaucratic functions and delegations, including serving in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death).

Shostakovich combined a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; he was also heavily influenced by the neoclassical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the late Romanticism of Gustav Mahler.

Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber output includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His solo piano works include two sonatas, an early set of 24 preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, three ballets, several song cycles, and a substantial quantity of music for theatre and film. Of the latter genre, the waltz from The First Echelon (in an alternate arrangement as the "Waltz No. 2" for the Suite for Variety Orchestra), the suite of music extracted from The Gadfly, and the theme from the Counterplan are especially well known.

Timeline

September 12, 1906
Dmitri Shostakovich was born in Saint Petersburg.

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