76 Facts About Dmitri Shostakovich


Dmitri Shostakovich achieved early fame in the Soviet Union, but had a complex relationship with its government.

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Dmitri Shostakovich combined a variety of different musical techniques in his works.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; he was heavily influenced by neoclassicism and by the late Romanticism of Gustav Mahler.

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Dmitri Shostakovich wrote several song cycles, and a substantial quantity of music for theatre and film.

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Dmitri Shostakovich eventually became a successful banker in Irkutsk and raised a large family.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's son Dmitri Boleslavovich Shostakovich, the composer's father, was born in exile in Narym in 1875 and studied physics and mathematics at Saint Petersburg University, graduating in 1899.

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Dmitri Shostakovich then went to work as an engineer under Dmitri Mendeleev at the Bureau of Weights and Measures in Saint Petersburg.

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In 1919, at age 13, Dmitri Shostakovich was admitted to the Petrograd Conservatory, then headed by Alexander Glazunov, who monitored his progress closely and promoted him.

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Dmitri Shostakovich studied piano with Leonid Nikolayev and Elena Rozanova, composition with Maximilian Steinberg, and counterpoint and fugue with Nikolay Sokolov, who became his friend.

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Dmitri Shostakovich stood at the podium, played with his hair and jacket cuffs, looked around at the hushed teenagers with instruments at the ready and raised the baton.

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Dmitri Shostakovich neither stopped the orchestra, nor made any remarks; he focused his entire attention on aspects of tempi and dynamics, which were very clearly displayed in his gestures.

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On 20 March 1925, Dmitri Shostakovich's music was played in Moscow for the first time, in a program which included works by his friend Vissarion Shebalin.

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Thereafter, Dmitri Shostakovich regularly celebrated the date of his symphonic debut.

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Dmitri Shostakovich maintained a heavy performance schedule until 1930; after 1933, he performed only his own compositions.

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Self-discipline with which the young Dmitri Shostakovich prepared for the 1927 [Chopin] Competition was astonishing.

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Arnold Alschwang called Dmitri Shostakovich's playing "profound and lacking any salon-like mannerisms.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was stricken with appendicitis on the opening day of the competition, but his condition improved by the time of his first performance on 27 January 1927.

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Dmitri Shostakovich persisted into the final round of the competition but ultimately earned only a diploma, no prize; Oborin was declared the winner.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was upset about the result but for a time resolved to continue a career as performer.

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In 1927, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Second Symphony, a patriotic piece with a pro-Soviet choral finale.

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Dmitri Shostakovich later said that Sollertinsky "taught [him] to understand and love such great masters as Brahms, Mahler, and Bruckner" and that he instilled in him "an interest in music.

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Dmitri Shostakovich had been forewarned by a friend that he should postpone a planned concert tour in Arkhangelsk in order to be present at that particular performance.

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Eyewitness accounts testify that Dmitri Shostakovich was "white as a sheet" when he went to take his bow after the third act.

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When Dmitri Shostakovich returned to Leningrad, he had a telephone call from the commander of the Leningrad Military District, who had been asked by Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky to make sure that he was all right.

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Pravda campaign against Dmitri Shostakovich caused his commissions and concert appearances, and performances of his music, to decline markedly.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's daughter Galina was born during this period in 1936; his son Maxim was born two years later.

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Dmitri Shostakovich did not repudiate the work and retained its designation as his Fourth Symphony.

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Later, Dmitri Shostakovich's purported memoir, Testimony, stated: "I'll never believe that a man who understood nothing could feel the Fifth Symphony.

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Dmitri Shostakovich tried to enlist in the military but was turned away because of his poor eyesight.

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Dmitri Shostakovich family moved to Moscow in spring 1943, by which time the Red Army was on the offensive.

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Dmitri Shostakovich had expressed as early as 1943 his intention to cap his wartime trilogy of symphonies with a grandiose Ninth.

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Shortly thereafter, Dmitri Shostakovich ceased work on this version of the Ninth, which remained lost until musicologist Ol'ga Digonskaya rediscovered it in December 2003.

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Dmitri Shostakovich began to compose his actual, unrelated Ninth Symphony in late July 1945; he completed it on 30 August.

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Dmitri Shostakovich continued to compose chamber music, notably his Second Piano Trio, dedicated to the memory of Sollertinsky, with a Jewish-inspired finale.

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In 1947, Dmitri Shostakovich was made a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR.

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The accused composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich, were summoned to make public apologies in front of the committee.

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For Dmitri Shostakovich, it was a humiliating experience, culminating in a New York press conference where he was expected to read a prepared speech.

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Nicolas Nabokov, who was present in the audience, witnessed Dmitri Shostakovich starting to read "in a nervous and shaky voice" before he had to break off "and the speech was continued in English by a suave radio baritone".

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Fully aware that Dmitri Shostakovich was not free to speak his mind, Nabokov publicly asked him whether he supported the then recent denunciation of Stravinsky's music in the Soviet Union.

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Nabokov did not hesitate to write that this demonstrated that Dmitri Shostakovich was "not a free man, but an obedient tool of his government.

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Dmitri Shostakovich taught Ustvolskaya from 1939 to 1941 and then from 1947 to 1948.

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Dmitri Shostakovich married his second wife, Komsomol activist Margarita Kainova, in 1956; the couple proved ill-matched, and divorced five years later.

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In 1954, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the Festive Overture, opus 96; it was used as the theme music for the 1980 Summer Olympics.

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In 1959, Dmitri Shostakovich appeared on stage in Moscow at the end of a concert performance of his Fifth Symphony, congratulating Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for their performance.

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Dmitri Shostakovich subtitled the piece "To the victims of fascism and war", ostensibly in memory of the Dresden fire bombing that took place in 1945.

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Dmitri Shostakovich confessed to his friend Isaac Glikman, "I started thinking that if some day I die, nobody is likely to write a work in memory of me, so I had better write one myself.

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Year saw Dmitri Shostakovich again turn to the subject of anti-Semitism in his Thirteenth Symphony.

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In 1965, Dmitri Shostakovich raised his voice in defence of poet Joseph Brodsky, who was sentenced to five years of exile and hard labor.

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Dmitri Shostakovich co-signed protests with Yevtushenko, fellow Soviet artists Kornei Chukovsky, Anna Akhmatova, Samuil Marshak, and the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

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In later life, Dmitri Shostakovich suffered from chronic ill health, but he resisted giving up cigarettes and vodka.

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Dmitri Shostakovich dedicated the Fourteenth to his close friend Benjamin Britten, who conducted its Western premiere at the 1970 Aldeburgh Festival.

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Dmitri Shostakovich died of heart failure on 9 August 1975 at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

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Dmitri Shostakovich himself left behind several recordings of his own piano works; other noted interpreters of his music include Mstislav Rostropovich, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Maria Yudina, David Oistrakh, and members of the Beethoven Quartet.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's works are broadly tonal but with elements of atonality and chromaticism.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's output is dominated by his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, each totaling 15.

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The Fourth was the first piece in which Mahler's influence came to the fore, prefiguring the route Dmitri Shostakovich took to secure his rehabilitation, while he himself admitted that the preceding two were his least successful.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was intrigued by Jewish music's "ability to build a jolly melody on sad intonations".

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Dmitri Shostakovich was further inspired to write with Jewish themes when he examined Moisei Beregovski's 1944 thesis on Jewish folk music.

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In 1948, Dmitri Shostakovich acquired a book of Jewish folk songs, from which he composed the song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry.

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Dmitri Shostakovich initially wrote eight songs meant to represent the hardships of being Jewish in the Soviet Union.

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Dmitri Shostakovich is in many ways a polar counter-force for Stravinsky.

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When I have said that the 7th symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich is a dull and unpleasant composition, people have responded: "Yes, yes, but think of the background of that symphony.

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Salonen has since performed and recorded several of Dmitri Shostakovich's works, including leading the world premiere of Orango, but has dismissed the Fifth Symphony as "overrated, " adding that he was "very suspicious of heroic things in general.

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Dmitri Shostakovich borrows extensively from the material and styles both of earlier composers and of popular music; the vulgarity of "low" music is a notable influence on this "greatest of eclectics".

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McBurney traces this to the avant-garde artistic circles of the early Soviet period in which Dmitri Shostakovich moved early in his career, and argues that these borrowings were a deliberate technique to allow him to create "patterns of contrast, repetition, exaggeration" that gave his music large-scale structure.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was in many ways an obsessive man: according to his daughter he was "obsessed with cleanliness".

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Dmitri Shostakovich was fond of satirical writers such as Gogol, Chekhov and Mikhail Zoshchenko.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was diffident by nature: Flora Litvinova has said he was "completely incapable of saying 'No' to anybody.

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Dmitri Shostakovich's response to official criticism and whether he used music as a kind of covert dissidence is a matter of dispute.

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Dmitri Shostakovich outwardly conformed to government policies and positions, reading speeches and putting his name to articles expressing the government line.

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Dmitri Shostakovich was a close friend of Marshal of the Soviet Union Mikhail Tukhachevsky, who was executed in 1937 during the Great Purge.

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Dmitri Shostakovich incorporated many quotations and motifs in his work, most notably his musical signature DSCH.

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Fay documents these allegations in her 2002 article 'Volkov's Testimony reconsidered', showing that the only pages of the original Testimony manuscript that Dmitri Shostakovich had signed and verified are word-for-word reproductions of earlier interviews he gave, none of which are controversial.

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In May 1958, during a visit to Paris, Dmitri Shostakovich recorded his two piano concertos with Andre Cluytens, as well as some short piano works.

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Dmitri Shostakovich recorded the two concertos in stereo in Moscow for Melodiya.

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Dmitri Shostakovich played the piano solos in recordings of the Cello Sonata, Op.

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