Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov (born May 25, 1888 [May 13, O.S.], Moscow, Russia – died April 16, 1982, Moscow, Russia), was a famous Soviet composer, pianist and teacher. As a composer, Alexandrov worked in many genres, but he distinguished himself in vocal and chamber instrumental music. He is the author of operas, string quartets, piano sonatas, romances, vocal suites and children’s songs. Alexandrov has gone down in music history as the creator of music for piano, especially as the author of 14 piano sonatas. Many of his romances, based on the words by Alexander Pushkin, Yevgeny Baratynsky, Fyodor Tyutchev, Anna Akhmatova, received wide acclaim, and became a part of a repertoire of leading performers.
Family and childhood
Anatoly Alexandrov was born into a musical family. His mother, Anna Yakovlevna Alexandrova-Levenson, was a pianist, she gave him his first piano lessons, and his father, Nikolai Alexandrovich Alexandrov, was a pharmacist. In the years of Anatoly’s childhood, the family moved around a lot. From 1906 they began to live in Moscow again. Then Alexandrov’s mother decided to find a teacher for her son. At first Alexandrov began to study harmony with Taneyev’s student Nikolai Zhilyayev, and then counterpoint with Taneyev (1907–1910).
Education and Career
In 1910 he entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied piano with Konstantin Igumnov (until 1915) and musical works with Sergei Vasilenko. In 1916, he completed his musical studies. Alexandrov took part in the First World War. Until 1974 he had been performing at concerts as a pianist, he performed his own musical works. Since 1923 Alexandrov had been teaching at the Moscow Conservatory, in 1926 he was appointed as professor. Among his students were future composers such as Nikolai Anosov, Nury Halmammedov, Mikhail Iordanskiy, Roman Ledenyov, Yuri Slonov, Elena Tilicheeva, Mikhail Meyerovich, Kirill Molchanov, Mansur Muzafarov, Nikolai Chemberdzhi, Joseph Neymark, Georgiy Mushel and many others. For several years he was the chairman of the children’s music section of the Composers Union of the USSR.
Anatoly Alexandrov died on April 16, 1982 in Moscow.
The operas Two Worlds (Dva mira; 1916), Bela (1941, 2nd edition in 1945); Wild Bara (Dikaya Bara; 1957), The Left-Hander (Levsha; 1975); 14 sonatas for piano; string quartets; romances; vocal suite (Fidelity, Vernost’; 1950); over 150 children’s songs, including the cycles Construction (Stroyka), Duda, Summer Cares (Letniye zaboty).
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