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Sergei Prokofiev


Prokofiev's musical dreams were fueled by hearing his mother play famous composers on the piano in the evenings after he was born on April 23, 1891.1)


Prokofiev, at 13, and his mother were introduced to composer Glazunov, a professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, in 1904. He was so impressed that he encouraged Sergei to apply to study there.2)


Prokofiev, who was many years younger than most of his Conservatory students, was seen as eccentric and haughty, frequently voicing his unhappiness with his schooling, which he felt uninteresting.3)

Scandalous Piano Music

Prokofiev rose to prominence as a composer-pianist, composing a number of demanding pieces for his instrument, including his first two piano concertos. The second generated a stir when it premiered in 1913. “The cats on the roof create greater music!” the audience allegedly said as they exited the venue.4)


In the summer of 1917, Prokofiev wrote his first symphony, the Classical, which he believed was written in the manner that Haydn would have used if he had been living at the time.5)

Scythian Suite

The Scythian Suite, assembled from music he produced for the Ballets Russes, was Prokofiev's first significant symphonic hit. Diaghilev commissioned three further ballets from Prokofiev, all of which were well-received.6)


Following the Russian Revolution, Prokofiev fled his motherland with the official approval of the Soviet Union. He resided in the United States, Germany, and Paris, where he met and married Spanish singer Carolina Codina, with whom he had two kids.7)


Opera was Prokofiev's first passion. Among his works are The Gambler and The Fiery Angel. His most popular film, however, was the satirical 'The Love for Three Oranges'.8)

Prokofiev and Stravinsky

Prokofiev and his compatriot Stravinsky were friends, however the latter's latter compositions did not appeal to Prokofiev. After himself, Stravinsky humbly rated Prokofiev as the finest Russian composer of his day.9)

First Recording

Prokofiev recorded for the first time in his life in London's legendary Abbey Road studios towards the end of June 1932. With the London Symphony Orchestra, he recorded his third Piano Concerto. HRH Prince George (later the Duke of Kent) paid a visit to the studios on June 28 and “left abruptly, maybe shocked by the rather forceful nature of the music”.10)


Prokofiev was a chess enthusiast who befriended world champions José Raul Capablanca, whom he defeated in 1914, and Mikhail Botvinnik.11)


Prokofiev worked on the historical epic Alexander Nevsky alongside Russian director Sergei Eisenstein in 1938. He wrote some of his most innovative dramatic music for this. Despite the film's poor sound quality, Prokofiev transformed much of his soundtrack into a cantata, which has been widely performed and recorded.12)

War And Peace

When Germany invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, Prokofiev was already planning an opera based on Tolstoy's War and Peace. The dispute motivated him, and it took him two years to complete his initial version.13)


Prokofiev received emotional and creative support from a new generation of Russian artists near the end of his life, most notably pianist Richter and cellist Rostropovich, for whom he created his Symphony-Concerto.14)

Overshadowed By Stalin

On March 5, 1953, the day Stalin's death was announced, Prokofiev died at the age of 61.15)

sergei_prokofiev.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/11 00:36 by eziothekilla34