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Prokofiev, Sergei

Sergei Prokofiev studied composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1904 to 1914 (with Rimski-Korsakov and Liadov amongst others) as well as piano and conducting. In 1918 Prokofiev left his homeland with the permission of the Soviet authorities. In Paris, where he finally settled in 1923, his ballets were produced by the famous impresario Sergei Diaghilev and the dancer and choreographer Sergei Lifar between 1921 and 1932.

Prokofiev returned definitively to Russia with his family in 1936. Despite his efforts to satisfy the official aesthetic maxims of the party, his works did not always meet with undivided approval. In 1948 Prokofiev (together with Shostakovich, Akhmatova, Pasternak, Eisenstein and others) was accused of “formalism” during the course of the repressive cultural campaign introduced by Andrei Zhdanov.

Prokofiev’s instrumental works found rapid acceptance in the repertoire of renowned interpreters. Alongside his symphonies, Prokofiev’s worldwide fame was based upon the ballet music to the Shakespeare drama “Romeo und Juliet” and the symphonic fairytale “Peter and the Wolf.” He succeeded in combining sharps dissonances and frequently unrelenting motor rhythms with an infallible formal sense, the most tender lyricism and a filigree melodic language.


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