Glazunov was born in St Petersburg in 1865. A pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, he helped his teacher with the completion of Borodin's unfinished opera Prince Igor. He also received encouragement from Belyayev, an influential patron and publisher. In his earlier years Glazunov was associated with the group of Russian nationalist composers, the Mighty Handful. He became a tutor at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire in 1899 and, after the student protests and turmoil of 1905, was appointed director of the institution. He held this post until 1930, although from 1928 he remained abroad, chiefly in Paris, where he died in 1936.
Glazunov's early pieces contain the spirit of Russian nationalism, but western elements entered his composition - influences of Liszt and Wagner are audible in later works. He completed eight symphonies, two piano concertos and a violin concerto, ballets, chamber music, and orchestral tone poems.
His famous compositions include the String Quartet No 2 in F, and the three ballets Raymonda, The Roses of Love, and The Seasons which come from the 1890s, his best period. His seventh symphony is considered a masterpiece. He composed in the classical style, writing music that was joyful and serene, free from anguish or struggle.