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 Mily Balakirev


Born:   02 January 1837
Deceased:   16 May 1910

Russian composer, pianist, conductor

      

Mily Balakirev was born on January, 2nd, 1836 in Nizhny Novgorod into the family of Alexey Konstantinovich Balakirev (1809—1869).

Starting from 1855 he lived in Petersburg where he performed as a pianist and got acquainted with Mikhail Glinka and Alexander Dargomyzhsky. In the early 1860s Mily Balakirev - a convinced fighter for progressive and democratic musical art - became the initiator and the leader of a musical society known as The New Russian Musical School, Balakirev Society, and The Mighty Bunch. Thanks to his energy and rich creative experience Balakirev became the inspirer and the instructor for members of the society, and had a great influence on their creativity. Balakirev was a co-founder (jointly with G.J.Lomakin) and the head of Free Music School (1868-1873 and 1881 - 1908), and conducted its concerts for promoting music by young Russian composers. The composer conducted symphony concerts of the Russian Musical School in 1867-60 and headed the Court Singing Chapel in 1883-94. Mily Balakirev paid great attention to collecting and studying national folk songs. Two collections of folk songs – “Collection of Russian Folk Songs. 40 songs for the voice and the piano” (St. Petersburg, 1866) and “30 Russian folk songs” (St. Petersburg, 1898) collected and harmonized by Balakirev – were of great importance for development of Russian music.

Balakirev’s music creativity was based on instrumental music (symphonic and piano concerts) and romances. A successor of Mikhail Glinka’s traditions, he developed the principles of Russian epic and folk genre symphonism. Balakirev made an essential contribution into Russian piano music. His vividly national creativity reflects folk images and pictures of Russian life. Balakirev widely used folklore, both of the Russians (Overture on three Russian songs, symphonic poem "Russia"), and other peoples (Spanish overture, symphonic poem "In Czechia"). He also had an interest in the Oriental themes (symphonic poem "Tamara", fantasia for piano "Islamey") that was actually traditional for Russian composers. Balakirev’s compositions became an integral part of the Russian musical classics of the 19th century. His work had a great influence on development of Russian music.

Mily Balakirev was laid to rest at Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg.

 


Tags: Russian music Russian musicians Russian composers   








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