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Born: 1865, St. Petersburg, RussiaDied: 1936, Paris, France

“I strive with all my strength to orchestrate my works in such a way that the orchestration will be unnoticed as such, but, sounding forth like an ideal piano under the hands of an ideal pianist, would make my compositional ideas ideally clear. In that sense, I am a classicist.”

Although a comparatively late starter by prodigy standards – beginning piano lessons at age 9 and composition at 11 – Glazunov advanced rapidly under the private instruction of Rimsky-Korsakov. Glazunov was 16 when his Symphony No. 1 had its successful premiere, with his first string quartet following a few months later. He eventually completed eight symphonies, seven string quartets, several popular concertos and ballets, and a host of other works in every genre, from solo songs to preludes and fugues for organ. First appointed professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1899, he became that school’s director in 1905; working effectively with the post-Revolution regimes, he remained the Conservatory’s director until 1930. An artistic heir of Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov fused Russian nationalism with the Western European classical tradition in much of his own music.

Further listening:

The Seasons (ballet, 1899)Minnesota Orchestra, Edo de Waart(Telarc)

Saxophone Concerto, Op. 109 (1934)John Harle; Academy of St. Martinin the Fields, Neville Marriner (EMI)