Russian composer; born Mikhail Ivanov, but added his mother’s maiden name in order not to be confused with the music critic of the same name. Born in Gatchina, he entered the St Petersburg Conservatoire in 1875 and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov. Graduating in 1882 he went to teach in Tiflis and became deeply interested in the local Caucasian folk music. Many stylistic elements found therein were incorporated into his music, most obviously in his two sets of Caucasian Sketches (1895 and 1906) which remain his best-known works.
Tchaikovsky recommended Ippolitov-Ivanov for a post at the Moscow Conservatoire, and he was appointed professor of composition there in 1893. Amongst his pupils was Glière, and in 1906 he became director, retiring in 1922. He also conducted, leading the Mamontov Opera from 1899 and the Bolshoi from 1925.