Russian conductor, choirmaster and violinist (b. 15/27 May 1846 in Yekaterinoslav [now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine]; d. 17 February 1919 in Moscow), born Ippolit Karlovich Altani (Ипполит Карлович Альтани).
A contemporary of Tchaikovsky at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, he was taught by Henryk Wienawski, Nikolay Zaremba and Anton Rubinstein, graduating in 1866. He then secured a position as choirmaster and conductor at the Russian Opera in Kiev (1867–1881), before becoming principal conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (1882–1906).
Altani premiered many of Tchaikovsky's works, including the festival overture The Year 1812 (1882) and the Elegy for string orchestra (1884). He also conducted the first performances at the Bolshoi Theatre of the operas Mazepa (1884), The Enchantress (1890), The Queen of Spades (1891) and Iolanta (1893). Altani also assisted Tchaikovsky with preparations to conduct Cherevichki at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1887.
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
7 letters from Tchaikovsky to Ipolit Altani have survived, dating from 1884 to 1889, of which those highlighted in bold are available in English translations on this website:
- Letter 2420 – 4/16 February 1884, from Moscow
- Letter 2479 – 28 April/10 May 1884, from Kamenka
- Letter 2704 – 2/14 May 1885, from Maydanovo
- Letter 2934 – 18/30 April 1886, from Tiflis
- Letter 3034 – 28 August/9 September 1886 (?), from Moscow
- Letter 3200 – 14/26 March 1887, from Maydanovo
- Letter 3879 – 18/30 June 1889, from Frolovskoye
5 letters from Altani to Tchaikovsky, dating from 1883 to 1891, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.