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 Mikhail Glinka

Born:   June 1 [O.S. May 20] 1804
Deceased:   February 15 [O.S. February 3] 1857

Russian composer, one of the prime movers of Russian classical music


Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was born on June 1, 1804 in the Smolensk Province, in his father’s estate. At the age of ten he started playing the piano and the violin. In 1817 parents brought Mikhail to Petersburg to study at the Noble Boarding School under the Teachers’ Training Institute. Mikhail Glinka took classes from prominent musicians in St. Petersburg. After finishing school in 1822 he strenuously practiced music:  studied West European classical music, participated in home music concerts at gatherings of the nobility, and sometimes conducted the orchestra of his uncle. 

In 1830 the composer moved abroad, first to Italy, then to Austria and Germany. In Italy he studied the glorified vocal bel canto style and composed in “the Italian manner” a lot. In 1833 - 1834 Mikhail Glinka lived in Germany and worked on composition, polyphony, and instrumentation. 
In 1834 Glinka came back to Russia with his new works and extensive plans of creating the Russian national opera.  After long quest for the opera plot he selected the legend about the national hero Ivan Susanin. Soon after staging Ivan Susanin opera Mikhail Glinka was appointed the conductor of the court singing chapel, which he headed for two years. In 1844 the composer went to France, and then Spain. This trip resulted in the Spanish overtures, namely Aragon Hunting (1845) and Night in Madrid (1848) based on Spanish popular themes. Upon return from abroad he created his most considerable symphony Kamarinskaya (1848).  In 1852 Glinka again moved abroad and spent the last years of his life there. 
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka died on February 15, 1857 in Berlin.  Subsequently his body was taken to Petersburg. 

Tags: Mikhail Glinka Russian Music    

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