Aram KhachaturianSoviet-Armenian composer, Aram Khachaturian. Born 6 June 1903. Died 1 May 1978
Aram Khachaturian Biography (BBC)
In the 1940s and 1950s Khachaturian (1903–78) became the best known Soviet composer after Shostakovich and Prokofiev – Soviet, but not Russian, for he was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, of Armenian parents, and never lost contact with his Central Asian background. ‘I grew up in an atmosphere rich in folk music: popular festivities, rites, joyous and sad events in the life of the people were always accompanied by music, the vivid tunes of Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian songs and dances.’ And, he might have added, many other types of urban popular music.
Naturally gifted, he taught himself to play the piano but had no formal training until he was 19 and went to Moscow to study at the Gnessin Institute. His talent was obvious, but his experience limited: during his interview he is supposed to have pointed to a cello lying in a corner of the room and cheerfully said, ‘I’d like to learn to play that big violin.’
In 1934 he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory with his First Symphony and established his reputation over the next few years with a series of works that showed him grafting an instinctive sense of folk and popular music onto the Russian classical tradition stemming from Tchaikovsky and Rimsky- Korsakov: among the most successful were the concertos for piano (1936), violin (1940) and cello (1946).
He could also write in a grandiose, heroic Soviet style, as in the Second and Third Symphonies (1944 and 1947). He composed in all forms except opera, with music for the concert hall, theatre and film, but his most enduring works have proved to be the two ballets Gayane (1942, based on an earlier work called Happiness) and Spartacus (1954, revised 1968), which became a staple of the Bolshoi repertory.
No artist could have an easy relationship with the Soviet state in those days, and Khachaturian was one of those whose music was condemned at the notorious 1948 congress; but this was more a matter of Party discipline than of serious objections to his music, and after Stalin’s death in 1953 he was among the first composers to demand greater freedom from bureaucracy.
His straightforward nature and his genuine desire to reach the widest public were appreciated at all levels, and he also profited from the State’s encouragement of national styles. His harmony is frequently inflected by the tuning of folk instruments, and his melody and rhythm often have an improvisational quality that served as an inspiration and model for musicians in several of the southern Soviet republics, above all in Armenia, where he is honoured as their national composer.
Profile © Andrew Huth
Aram Khachaturian Biography (Wikipedia)
Aram Il'yich Khachaturian (Russian: Ара́м Ильи́ч Хачатуря́н,; Armenian: Արամ Խաչատրյան, Aram Xačatryan;; 6 June [O.S. 24 May] 1903 – 1 May 1978) was a Soviet Armenian composer and conductor. He is considered one of the leading Soviet composers.
Born and raised in Tbilisi, the multicultural capital of Georgia, Khachaturian moved to Moscow in 1921 following the Sovietization of the Caucasus. Without prior music training, he enrolled in the Gnessin Musical Institute, subsequently studying at the Moscow Conservatory in the class of Nikolai Myaskovsky, among others. His first major work, the Piano Concerto (1936), popularized his name within and outside the Soviet Union. It was followed by the Violin Concerto (1940) and the Cello Concerto (1946). His other significant compositions include the Masquerade Suite (1941), the Anthem of the Armenian SSR (1944), three symphonies (1935, 1943, 1947), and around 25 film scores. Khachaturian is best known for his ballet music—Gayane (1942) and Spartacus (1954). His most popular piece, the "Sabre Dance" from Gayane, has been used extensively in popular culture and has been covered by a number of musicians worldwide. His style is "characterized by colorful harmonies, captivating rhythms, virtuosity, improvisations, and sensuous melodies".
Aram Khachaturian Tracks
Performances & Interviews from Similar Artists
From elegance to raw emotion
Giorgi Sviridov: Waltz (Snowstorm Suite)
A Christmassy sweet treat from Alexandra Dariescu and Tchaikovsky
A hard nut to crack
The Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5 in E minor – excerpt (2017)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6 in B minor, 'Pathétique' (2017)
A Sentimental Waltz
Super-star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter plays a Tchaikovsky treat