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Schnittke, Alfred

Alfred Schnittke was born in 1934 in Engels, the capital city of the former Volga German Republic. Schnittke’s musical education began in Vienna in 1946, where his father, originally from Frankfurt/Main, worked for a newspaper for two years. Resident in Moscow from 1948 onwards, Schnittke initially completed his training as a choral conductor.

From 1953 to 1958 he studied composition and counterpoint (with Yevgeni Golubev) and instrumentation (with Nikolai Rakov) at the Moscow Conservatory. He received essential stimuli from the Webern pupil Philipp Hershkovich, who lived in Moscow. After a three-year period as aspirant, Schnittke taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1962 until 1972 and was thereafter a freelance composer. The composer moved his permanent residence to Hamburg in 1991, where he taught a composition class at the Music Academy.

Suffering from serious illness during his final years, Schnittke died on 3 August 1998.


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