Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov

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Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935)

Russian composer, teacher, and conductor (b. 7/19 November 1859 in Gatchina, near Saint Petersburg; d. 28 January 1935 in Moscow), born Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ivanov (Михаил Михайлович Иванов), later adopting the name Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ippolitov-Ivanov (Михаил Михайлович Ипполитов-Иванов).

The son of a mechanic to the royal household, Ippolitov-Ivanov studied music at home, and became a choirboy at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in the Russian capital. From 1875 to 1882 he studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, under Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1882 he became director of the Russian Musical Society and music school in Tiflis, Georgia. It was here in 1886 that he met Tchaikovsky for the first time, and he remained in contact with both Ippolitov-Ivanov and his wife Varvara (b. Zarudnaya, 1857–1939), until his death in 1893. Tchaikovsky also did a great deal to promote Ippolitov-Ivanov's music in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. After Tchaikovsky's death, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov was also chairman of the Society of Friends of the House-Museum at Klin from 1920 to 1930.

In 1893 Ippolitov-Ivanov was appointed professor at the Moscow Conservatory, where he taught harmony, orchestration and composition; he also served as director of the institution from 1905 to 1924, and of the fledgling Tblissi Conservatory from 1924 to 1925. His other roles included spells as director of the Russian Choral Society (1895–1901), the Mamontov Opera (1898–1906), and the Bolshoi Theatre (from 1925). He was also highly active as a conductor, and a contributor to musical journals.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

30 letters from Tchaikovsky to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov have survived, dating from 1885 to 1893, of which those highlighted in bold are available in English translations on this website:

Letters 3595, 3612 and 4421 were addressed jointly to Ippolitov-Ivanov and his wife Varvara Zarudnaya.

30 letters from Ippolitov-Ivanov to Tchaikovsky are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.

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