Aram Khachaturian (1903 - 1978)
Composer and conductor Aram Khachaturian was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia) to a modest Armenian family. In 1922, although he had little musical education, he showed such talent that he was admitted to the Gnissin Institute where he studied cello, then composition in 1925. Transferring in 1929 to the Moscow Conservatory, he graduated in 1934. His fame developed quickly, but he fell out of favor in 1948 under the “Zhdanov decree” that also condemned Shostakovich and Prokofiev for being “formalist” and “anti-popular” composers. However, he soon returned to official favour. His works include concertos for violin, cello and piano, three symphonies, ballets, solo piano compositions, as well as film music and incidental music for plays such as the 1941 production of Lermontov’s Masquarade. His outstanding orchestral skills, festive and colorful music, richness of melodies have made him one of the most important composers of the 20th century. He died in Moscow in 1978 and is buried in Yerevan, Armenia.