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More about Sergei Prokofiev
One of the giants of twentieth-century music, Sergei Prokofiev was born 23 April 1891 in Sontsivka, Ukraine into a family of agriculturalists. He received his first piano instruction from his mother, who also encouraged the young Prokofiev to compose. After studies with Reinhold Glière, he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov. By the age the age of nine, he was composing his first opera, The Giant, as well as an overture and various other pieces. Prokofiev initially made his name as a composer-pianist, achieving notoriety with a series of ferociously discordant and challenging works for piano, including his infamous first two piano concertos.
Presuming that Russia "had no use for music at the moment", Prokofiev left his homeland following the Russian Revolution, and would remain abroad during much of the 1920's and 30's, including the USA, Germany and Paris. After returning to Moscow in 1936, he enjoyed a period of some favour; composing some of his most popular works including Peter and the Wolf, the opera War and Peace, and the ballet Cinderella. Though the late 1940's saw his work and that of his fellow progressive composers condemned by the Soviet government. Following this, his physical and emotional health began a slow decline and he died at the age of 61 on 5 March 1953, which is coincidentally the same day Stalin's death was announced. Despite the politically turbulent times in which he lived, Prokofiev remained one of the most prolific musical figures of the twentieth-century.
Today, Prokofiev is one of the most popular composers from the twentieth-century. His orchestral music alone is played more frequently in the United States than any other composer of the last hundred years apart from Richard Strauss. His operas, ballets and chamber works regularly appear in the repertoire of many famous orchestras and ensembles worldwide.
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