The 'founder of Soviet ballet', Glière was the inheritor of the Russian Romantic tradition of Glinka, Borodin and Glazunov. He was a gifted melodist and composed many fine ballet scores, such as Krasnïy tsvetok (The Red Flower) and Mednïy vsadnik (The Bronze Horseman), in addition to symphonic works.
Glière was born in Kiev on 30 Dec 1874/11 Jan 1875, and studied in Moscow at the Conservatory with Taneyev, Arensky, Konyus and Ippolitov-Ivanov. From 1920 to 1941 he was professor of composition at the same institution and taught Davidenko, Novikov and Rakov among others. In 1938 he became chairman of the organizing committee of the USSR Composers' Union, reflecting his elevated position in Soviet Cultural life, and was also awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR.
Glière's interest in the music of the Slavonic peoples, particularly the Ukranians, encouraged him to write stage works based on the folk culture of the Transcaucauses and Central Asia. Operas such as Shakh-Senem, Gyul'sara and Leyli i Mejnun reflect this preoccupation with national musics and did much to stimulate professional music in the eastern republics. In addition to his composing activities, Glière also appeared as a conductor and pianist. He died in Moscow on 23 June 1956.
Although conservative in nature and thus tarnished with the brush of Soviet State acceptance, Glière's music contains much beauty, particularly in his ballet scores. His symphonic works show a colourful approach to orchestration and his output as a whole displays a brilliant musical imagination.Show more