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Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov

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Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov

Biography

Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ippolitov-Ivanov (7 November 1859, Gatchina, Russian – 28 January 1935, Moscow) was a Russian composer, conductor and teacher.

Ivanov's birth name was Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ivanov; later he added Ippolitov, his mother's maiden name, to distinguish himself from a composer and music critic with an identical name. He studied music at home and was a choirboy at the cathedral of St. Isaac, where he also had musical instruction, before entering the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875. In 1882 he completed his studies as a composition pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, whose influence was to remain strong.

Ippolitov-Ivanov's first appointment was to the position of director of the music academy and conductor of the orchestra in Tbilisi, the principal city of Georgia, where he was to spend the next seven years. This period allowed him to develop an interest in the music of the region, a reflection of the general interest taken in the music of non-Slav minorities and more exotic neighbours that was current at the time, and that was to receive overt official encouragement for other reasons after the Revolution.

In 1893 Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, of which he was director from 1905 until 1924. His pupils included Reinhold Glière and Sergei Vasilenko. He served as conductor for the Russian Choral Society, the Mamontov and Zimin Opera companies and, after 1925, the Bolshoi Theatre, and was known as a contributor to broadcasting and to musical journalism.

Politically, Ippolitov-Ivanov retained a measure of independence. He was president of the Society of Writers and Composers in 1922, but took no part in the quarrels between musicians concerned either to encourage new developments in music or to foster a form of proletarian art. His music ranged from the late-Romantic era into the 20th century era. His own style had been formed in the 1880s under Rimsky-Korsakov, and to this he added a similar interest in folk-music, particularly the music of Georgia, where he returned in 1924 to spend a year reorganizing the Conservatory in Tbilisi.

Ippolitov-Ivanov's works include operas, orchestral music, chamber music and a large number of songs. With the exception of his orchestral suite Caucasian Sketches (1894), which includes the much-excerpted Procession of the Sardar, his music is rarely heard today.


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