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Aram Khachaturian 1903 - 1978

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Much-loved Soviet composer of Armenian background, who continued vein of colourful Russian exoticism from 19th century composers like Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov * Aram Khachaturian studied at Gnessin Institute and Moscow Conservatoire under Glière and Myaskovsky * Later taught composition at Gnessin Institute for many years * Most famous for ballets Gayaneh and Spartacus, performed worldwide by the Bolshoy and Kirov companies during the Soviet period * Many concertos include those for piano (1936) and violin (1940), the latter written for and championed by David Oistrakh * His three symphonies are of epic, almost filmic character, with very grand and kaleidoscopic orchestration * Among many theatre scores, the music for Masquerade, with its imitations of 19th century waltzes, is most frequently played * Wrote much official Soviet music including Ode to the Memory of Lenin and Poem about Stalin, which mixes folk-tunes from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaidzhan * After Stalin’s death (1953) was courageous in his struggle to return Soviet musical life to greater freedom and experiment * His music has reached a wide audience in the West through its reuse on film and TV

Works by Aram Khachaturian include:
Violin Concerto (1940)
Symphony No.2 (1943)
Masquerade (1940) Incidental music to play by Lermontov
Gayaneh (1942) and Spartacus (1956) Ballets in 4 acts)

"I do not see how modern composers could isolate themselves from life and not want to work among society. The more impressions that come from contact with life, the more and better the creative ideas" — Aram Khachaturian

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