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Glazunov, Alexander

Alexander Glazunov, a Russian late-Romantic composer, conductor, and music tutor, was born on August 10th, 1865. Glazunov's excellent ear and impressive musical memory made it apparent from an early age that he had significant musical talent. He started composition at the age of 11 and received private lessons from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in his early years, with Rimsky-Korsakov remarking that his "growth advanced not by the day, but simply by the hour." Glazunov's First Symphony was played in 1884 when he was on a trip to Weimer with Mitrofan Belyayev, a prosperous timber trader and amateur musician.

Glazunov gradually gained international acclaim thanks to Belyayev's assistance and sponsorship. Despite his success, he went through an artistic struggle from 1890 to 1891, emerging with a fresh sophistication and three finished symphonies, two string quartets, and a ballet. He was named director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1905, and it is also claimed that he was at the height of his artistic abilities at this time. He composed several works and acquired some reputation as a conductor while in this role, but he never fully perfected the craft. Glazunov began touring Europe and the United States in 1928, and by the end of the year, he had settled in Paris. He said that his motivations for leaving were health-related, but it's more likely that, like Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, he was escaping the Soviet Union's growth. However, by saying that it was due to health concerns, he was able to maintain his reputation as a respected composer in the Soviet Union. His productivity slowed considerably in the later years of his life, but the works he did write during this period, such as the Concerto for Alto Saxophone op.109 (1934), displayed refinement and polish. Glazunov died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, on March 21, 1936. In 1972, his ashes were transferred to Leningrad.


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