Aleksandr Glazunov

Tchaikovsky Research
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Aleksandr Glazunov (1865-1936)
As portrayed in 1887 by Ilya Repin (1844-1930)

Russian composer and conductor (b. 29 July/10 August 1865 in Saint Petersburg; d. 21 March 1936 in Neuilly-sur-Siene, near Paris), born Aleksandr Konstantinovich Glazunov (Александр Константинович Глазунов).

Alexander was the eldest child of Konstantin Ilyich Glazunov (1828–1914) and his wife Yelena (b. Gromova, 1846–1925). As a child he had an exceptional ear and memory for music, began to study piano at the age of nine, and wrote his first composition two years later. On Balakirev's recommendation, Glazunov took private lessons in composition from Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov for almost two years (1879–1881).

Tchaikovsky and Glazunov

Tchaikovsky heard the premiere of Glazunov's First Symphony in 1882, although the two men only became personally acquainted two years later. Tchaikovsky took a great interest in the younger composer's career, and helped to publicise his music. They socialised regularly in Saint Petersburg, and Glazunov presented many inscribed copies of his works to the older composer, and dedicated his Third Symphony (1890) to Tchaikovsky.

Glazunov made his conducting debut in 1888, becoming principal conductor of the Russian Symphonic Concerts in Saint Petersburg, organised by Mitrofan Belyayev. In 1896, he conducted the premiere of Tchaikovsky's student overture The Storm, which had never been performed during its author's lifetime. In 1899, Glazunov was appointed professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and served as its director from 1905 until 1930. Following the First World War he spent an increasing amount of time outside Russia; in 1929, he married Olga Nikolayevna Gavrilova (1875–1968) and eventually settled in Paris.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

12 letters from Tchaikovsky to Aleksandr Glazunov have survived, dating from 1887 to 1892, all of which have been translated into English on this website:

9 letters from Glazunov to Tchaikovsky have survived, dating from 1887 to 1890, of which 8 are in the Klin House-Museum Archive, and one in the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow.


External Links