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Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
March 18, 1844 – June 21, 1908

Unlike many other composers, Russian Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov had no formal training in music. In fact, he only studied it incidentally amongst his service in the navy. He wrote the first Russian symphony while serving at sea.

After his service, Rimsky-Korsakov worked as professor of composition and orchestration at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, despite having no formal experience. He continued working with the Navy as an inspector of their orchestras.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s themes explored Russian folk tales, as well as mythical and fantastical elements. Later, in 1888, he developed what became one of his most notable characteristics: skill with orchestration. He composed his Easter Overture and Scheherazade, which were enthusiastically admired for their beauty.

His lasting impact involved writing nationalistic pieces, and preparing works for other composers. This vast amount of work laid the foundation for what became the Russian style of composition at that time. This not only influenced his contemporaries, but became a template for all Russian composers that followed.

Notable works:
Capriccio Espagnol
Russian Easter Overture