Dmitri Shostakovich is one of the world’s most famous composers, his creativity standing out as one of the high-water marks of the 20th century music. His works are genuine expressions of internal human drama. They are of great importance to the Russian music and music of the whole world.
Dmitri Shostakovich was born on September 25 (12), 1906 into the family of a chemical engineer in Petersburg. His father was a great music fan, whereas his mother was very much gifted in music. Thus, the future composer inherited love for music from his parents.
When young Dmitri was eleven years old, his mother decided to take him to a private music school. This is where the boy’s unusual capabilities manifested themselves to lots of people around. Dmitri Shostakovich was introduced to a well-known composer, the director of Petrograd Conservatory A.K. Glazunov. The latter showed consideration for the beginning musician and advised him to get seriously engaged in composition, since he saw it as the main vocation of the talented young man.
Dmitri’s further development in the Petrograd Conservatory was fast and explosive. His surroundings - both professors and students – were astounded by the vivid and versatile endowments of Shostakovich.
In 1922 when Shostakovich was in the last year of his conservatory studies, his father died. So the young man had to combine intense studies with some work. He was employed as a music illustrator in one of the movie theaters of Leningrad. Since silent cinema had no sound of its own, it was replaced with piano performance.
His job distracted him from systematic music training, which was of paramount significance to him. Nevertheless, Dmitri Shostakovich successfully graduated from the conservatory majoring in piano and began his independent music career in 1923.
The very First Symphony (1925) composed by Dmitri Shostakovich gained him world fame, just like some of his other symphonies that followed. The Second and Third Symphonies created in 1927-1929 became his other big achievements. They take special place both in the composer’s creativity and in the history of Soviet music, since they were among the first symphonic music pieces that reflected the revolutionary theme.
The images of the Great Patriotic War were conveyed in the Eighth Symphony (1943), a work of enormous huge tragic power dedicated to the memory of victims of war and fascism.
During this period he created other compositions with no less depth and power...
Dmitri Shostakovich was also engaged in teaching: from 1937 he conducted a composition course in the Leningrad Conservatory (as a professor from 1939), and after moving to Moscow taught in the Moscow Conservatory (in 1943-1948). Among his students there were R. S. Bunin, A.D. Gadzhiyev, G.G. Galynin, O. A. Evlakhov, K.A. Karayev, G. V. Sviridov, B. I. Tishchenko, K.S. Khachaturian and others.
Shostakovich also composed music for lots of feature films and stage plays. He was the author of some number of articles, a member of numerous international committees and academies, holder of three Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner of Labour and some medals.
Dmitri Shostkovich steadily resorted to subjects and images of great social value, and conveyed the most important aspects of modern reality. His music blends epic broadness and psychological depths, mighty spirit of a tribune artist and the subtlest intimate lyricism.
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich died in Moscow on August 9, 1975.