Spring 2003 (11.1)
Left: Dmitry Shostakovich with his mother
Sophia in 1995. She taught him piano.
is recognized as one of the foremost Russian composers of the
20th century. He began piano lessons with his mother at the age
of 9. He submitted his first symphony for graduation at the Petrograd
Conservatory when he was 18; today this symphony is still revered
as one of his best-known and most popular works.
Shostakovich created a prodigious body of work, particularly
in instrumental music. He wrote 147 opus works, including 15
symphonies, 6 concertos (orchestra with piano, violin, cello
and trumpet), 35 chamber music pieces, 23 piano works plus 37
preludes, more than 80 songs, 4 operas, 2 operetta, 14 choral
works, 8 ballets, 11 pieces of incidental music, 35 film scores
and more than 20 miscellaneous orchestral works.
During his lifetime, he was awarded the Soviet Union's top honors,
including the Order of Lenin (1949, 1956, 1966), People's Artist
of the USSR (1954), Hero of Socialist Labor (1966) and Order
of the October Revolution (1971).
His international awards include Honorary Membership in the American
Institute of Arts (1943), Honorary Doctor of Oxford University
(1958), Laureate of the International Sibelius Prize (1958) and
Doctor of Fine Arts from Northwestern University (1973).
Shostakovich was permitted to visit the United States only twice:
in 1949 as a delegate to the World Peace Conference and in 1959
as a member of a group of Soviet musicians.
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