19 May 2003, 00:57

Khachaturyan, Aram Ilyich

Famous Armenian composer, conductor, and pedagogue. People's Artist of the USSR (narodnyy artist SSSR) (1954). Labor Hero (Geroy Truda) (1973). Academician of the Armenian Academy of Sciences (1963). Doctor of Art Studies (doktor iskusstvovedeniya) (1965), honorable professor of Mexican Conservatoire.

Born May 24 (June 6), 1903, in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia). Was the fourth son in a family of a poor craftsman. During his childhood and adolescence, did not show particular interest for music, but at the age of 19 left for Moscow in hopes of becoming a musician and entered Music School named after Gnesins in 1922. Studied cello first, then transferred to composition class.

Khachaturyan's creative formation as a composer was in Moscow Conservatoire in the classes of N.Y. Myaskovsky and G.I. Litinsky (1929-1934). Still in the Conservatoire, Aram Khachaturyan composed works, which attracted the music community's attention: a poem-song for violin and piano (1929), a toccata for piano (1932), and a trio for piano, violin, and clarinet (1932). Khachaturyan's great success were First Symphony (1934) and concertos with orchestra for piano (1936) and violin (1940), which enriched the soviet music with new expressiveness based on various traditions of the music art of the Orient nations and yet organically connected with the most progressive ideological, aesthetical, and technical principles of the modern symphonism. Among A.I. Khachaturyan's other works are Second Symphony (1943), two thematically connected ballets: Happiness (1939) and Gayane (1942), ballet Spartacus (1954), Epic of Stalin for Choir with Orchestra (1938), music for plays and movies, and many other compositions. Basing on Gayane ballet, three orchestra suites were created; one of them includes the world-known Sword Dance; another suite consists of music fragments for the Masquerade staging (after Lermontov) in the Maly Theater.

In the decree by the Central Committee of VKP(b) (All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks) On Opera "Great Friendship" (1948), Khachaturyan, as a number of other major musicians, was unjustly criticized for "formalistic" and "anti-people" tendencies.

Since 1950, A.I. Khachaturyan performed as a conductor, toured with author's concerts in many cities of the USSR and other countries. Since 1950, taught composition in Moscow Conservatoire and in Gnesins Institute (a professor since 1951). Such prominent composers and A.Y. Eshpay and M.L. Tariverdiev were among his students. Since 1957, A.I. Khachaturyan occupied the position of the Secretary of the USSR Composers' Union. Was repeatedly entitled the laureate of Lenin Prize (1959), USSR State Prize (1941, 1943, 1946, 1950, 1971), and Armenian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) State Prize (1965). Was awarded with orders and medals.

Aram Ilyich Khachaturyan deceased in Moscow on May 1, 1978.

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