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Khachaturian, Aram
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Aram Il'yich Khachaturian

(Born; Tbilisi, 6 June 1903; Died; Moscow, 1 May 1978). Armenian composer. A bookbinder's son, he at first studied medicine and received his musical education comparatively late, studying the cello and composition under Myaskovsky at the Moscow Conservatory (1929-37). He came to wider notice in 1936 with his Piano Concerto and his Violin Concerto (1940), and was active from 1937 in the Union of Soviet Composers. Most of his best-known works, including the ballet Gayane, date from the 1940s. In common with other Soviet composers, he was subject to official criticism in 1948; but his colourful, nationally tinged idiom was far removed from modernistic excess. He concentrated on film music in the ensuing years, and took up conducting and teaching (at the Gnesin Institute and the Conservatory). His later works include Lsquo;concert rhapsodiesRsquo; which re-interpret concerto form. His career represents the Soviet model of the linking of regional folklorism with the central Russian tradition; his Armenian heritage is clear in his melodies and his vitality, but in disciplined form. His greatest strengths lie in colourful orchestration and effective pictorialism.

Ballets: Gayane (1942); Spartak (1956).

Orchestral music: Dance Suite (1933); 3 syms. (1935, 1943, 1947); Pf Conc. (1936); Vn Conc. (1940); Masquerade (1944); Vc Conc. (1946); Funeral Ode in Memory of Lenin (1949); The Battle for Stalingrad (1952); The Widow of Valencia (1953); Concert Waltz (1955); Concert-rhapsodies, vn, orch (1962), vc, orch (1963), pf, orch (1965).

Choral music: Song of Stalin (1937); Ode of Joy (1956).

Chamber music: Sonata, vn, pf (1932); Trio, cl, vn, pf (1932); Recitative and Fugue, str qt (1967).

Piano music: Poem (1927); Album of Children's Pieces, 2 vols. (1946, 1964); Sonatina (1959); Sonata (1961).

Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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