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Khachaturian, Aram

Aram Khachaturian decided on a musical career relatively late in life. He went to Moscow in 1919 to study biology. After a few months, however, he started violoncello and composition studies at the Gnessin Institute in that city.

In 1930 he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Nikolai Myaskovsky (composition) and Sergei Vassilenko (orchestration). He became Professor of Composition at the Moscow Conservatory in 1951 and advanced to Secretary of the Composers’ Union of the Soviet Union. He had already made a name for himself as a conductor many years before that as well, and also made guest appearances in the West in this function since the mid-1970s.

Influenced by Vassilenko’s “conservative” strivings, Myaskovsky’s orientation towards the new and the Armenian folklore of his homeland, Khachaturian succeeded in combining the folk music of his Armenian-Caucasian homeland with Russian art music. The ballet “Gayane,” above all, is the expression of his personal, individual creative will. The “Sabre Dance” from this work attained worldwide popularity.

Aram Khachaturian died on 1 May 1978.


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