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Famous Like Me > Composer > G > Mikhail Glinka

Profile of Mikhail Glinka on Famous Like Me

Name: Mikhail Glinka  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 1st June 1804
Place of Birth: Novospasskoye, Russia
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (Михаи́л Ива́нович Гли́нка) (June 1, 1804 – February 15, 1857) was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition inside his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music.

Among his works are the operas A Life for the Tsar (Zhizn za tsarya) and Ruslan and Lyudmila, written after the famous poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, the overture to which is often played in concerts. His lesser known orchestral works include the symphonic poem Karaminskaya. His work was an important influence on future composers from that country, notably the members of the Mighty Handful, who took Glinka's lead and produced a distinctively Russian kind of classical music.


Glinka was the son of a wealthy merchant. This afforded him the opportunity to spend much of his youth being schooled in many countries across Europe where he soaked up the culture of the more musically advanced European countries. His education in music theory was minimal, for he chose instead to associate himself with the poets and artists of the time instead of fellow composers.

During this period there was little to no Russian national music. Instead the aristocracy imported their music from the major musical countries such as Germany, France, and Italy. Inspired by the work of Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti, he set out to write the first wholly Russian opera.


His first opera A Life for the Tsar -- in Soviet times renamed "Ivan Susanin" -- was composed in 1836 to an original Russian libretto by Nestor Kukolnik and George von Rosen. It was immediately hailed as a great success. It was one of the first Russian operas to be widely accepted outside Russia. Many parts were based on Russian folk songs but most of the opera was structured according to the conventional Italian style of the period.

His second opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila was composed in 1842. This one was not as well received because of the poor quality of the performance. The opera can be characterized by its liberal use of folk songs as well as some innovative use of dissonance, chromaticism, and whole-tone scales. Nevertheless, this second opera confirmed the existence of a Russian national classical style that was to be built upon by the next generation of Russian composers.

Other Works

Glinka's Patriotic Song (Patriotičeskaja pesnja, Патриотическая песня), supposedly written for a non-public contest for a national anthem in 1833, was the national anthem of the Russian Federation in 1990-2000.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mikhail Glinka