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 Sergei Prokofiev


Born:   April 23, 1891
Deceased:   March 5, 1953

Russian composer, pianist and conductor

      

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was born on April (11) 23, 1891 in Sontsovka Village, (nowadays the Krasnoye Settlement in the Donetsk Region) into the family of an agronomist.

Sergei started playing music at the age of 5.  By the time of his entering the Petersburg Conservatory in 1904 he was the author of four operas, one symphony, two sonatas and several piano plays. In 1909 Sergei Prokofiev graduated from the conservatory majoring in composition and completed his conservatory education in 1914 with majoring in conducting and piano.

In the early period already peculiar traits of Prokofiev’s creative personality, i.e. his up-and-doing attitude, optimism, energy and will power came to light. The range of themes and subjects of his works is wide: subtle lyricism of romance songs set to Anna Akhmatova’s poems (1916) and intense expression of The Gambler; the picturesque and poetic fairy tale Ugly Duckling for vocal and piano (1914) and force majeure of the orchestral Scythian Suite (1914-1915); sharp grotesque of The Sarcasms and buffoonery fabulousness of the ballet Fairy Tale about Clown...  

 
In 1908 Sergei Prokofiev started regular and extensive concert activity as a pianist and conductor performing his own works. In spring of 1918 he travelled through Japan to the USA. His stay and touring abroad went on for 15 years instead of expected several months: America, France, Germany, and Paris …He got married to a Spanish singer, Carolina Codina, who then gave birth to their two sons. 
 
Sergei Prokofiev composed a lot: the comic opera The Love for Three Oranges (1919) after Carlo Gozzi and the expressive drama opera The Fiery Angel (1919-1927) after Valery Bryusov. His creative collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev promoted creation of new ballets for his famous company Ballets Russes: Le pas d'acier (The Steel Step or The Leap of Steel (1925) and The Prodigal Son (1928).  In 1930 he composed the ballet On Dnieper for Grand Opera. 
 
In 1927 and 1929 the composer toured in the USSR and in 1932 took the decision to return home. The return stimulated his creative process. Sergei Prokofiev composed the ballet Romeo and Juliette (1935-1936), music to the films Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible, as well as several music pieces for children. 
 
In the late 1930s he started working on a number of compositions. Completion of most of them was postponed due to the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War. Sergei Prokofiev’s most important work of the war period is War and Peace (1941-1952) based on the same name epic novel by Leo Tolstoy. The last opera by the composer - The Story of a Real Man (1947-1948) after Boris Polevoi’s book – dwells on the same subject. 
 
The great composer Sergei Prokofiev passed away on March 5, 1953 – on the same day that Joseph Stalin died.
 
Sergei Prokofiev’s creativity made an era in the music culture of the 20th century. 20 volumes of his music compositions were published in 1955-1967.
 
Perpetuating Memory of the Great Composer
 
• The first Sergei Prokofiev Museum was opened in 1966 at music school No.1 (8, Tokmakov Lane) in Moscow. The museum exposition tells about the composer’s life and creativity and presents his books and music scores, piano, furniture and photographs of his family.
• Severodonetsk Regional Music School named after Sergei Prokofiev was opened in Severodonetsk town of the Lugansk Region in 1966.
• Sergei Prokofiev Museum Apartment was opened in 2008 at the address 5, 6/5, Kamergersky Lane, St. Petersburg, where the composer lived, worked and died. The museum visitors will see his autographs on music scores and books, rare photos, documents and personal belongings.
• Sergey Prokofiev International Contest specializing in composition, symphonic conducting and piano has been annually held in St. Petersburg.
• There is Prokofiev Monument next to Prokofiev Music School in Moscow.
• Chelyabinsk has Prokofiev Monument and Prokofiev Concert Hall.
• There is Prokofiev Concert Hall in Donetsk Regional Philharmonic Hall.
• Donetsk State Music Academy is named after Sergei Prokofiev.
• Donetsk Regional Philharmonic Hall has Prokofiev Symphonic Orchestra.  
• Prokofiev Street in Sumy town of Ukraine.
• Prokofiev Museum was opened in his native  Krasnoye Settlement of Krasnoarmeisky District in Donetsk Region (Ukraine) for his 100th anniversary in 1991.
• A commemorative USSR coin dedicated to the centenary since Prokofiev’s birth was issued in 1991.
• The documentary film Life Suite about Prokofiev was released in the Soviet Union in 1991.
• The international airport in Donetsk was named after Prokofiev in 2011.
• The documentary film Genius of Prokofiev was released in 2003.
• Sergei Prokofiev International Airport was opened in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine in 2012.


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