Dmitri Shostakovich (Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich)

Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (Russian: Дми́трий Дми́триевич Шостако́вич , tr. Dmitriy Dmitrievich Shostakovich, pronounced [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ˈdmʲitrʲɪɪvʲɪtɕ ʂəstɐˈkovʲɪtɕ]; 25 September [O.S. 12 September] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Russian pianist and composer of the Soviet period. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. Dmitri Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death). A polystylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the late Romanticism associated with Gustav Mahler. Dmitri 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 preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, several song cycles, ballets, and a substantial quantity of film music; especially well known is The Second Waltz, Op. 99, music to the film The First Echelon (1955–1956), as well as the suites of music composed for The Gadfly. In later life, Dmitri Shostakovich suffered from chronic ill health, but he resisted giving up cigarettes and vodka. Beginning in 1958 he suffered from a debilitating condition that particularly affected his right hand, eventually forcing him to give up piano playing; in 1965 it was diagnosed as poliomyelitis. He also suffered heart attacks the following year and again in 1971, and several falls in which he broke both his legs; in 1967 he wrote in a letter: “Target achieved so far: 75% (right leg broken, left leg broken, right hand defective). All I need to do now is wreck the left hand and then 100% of my extremities will be out of order.”

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Born

  • September, 25, 1906
  • Saint Petersburg, Russia

Died

  • August, 09, 1975
  • Moscow, Russia

Cemetery

  • Novodevichy Cemetery
  • Moscow, Russia

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