Liapunov, Sergei (Mikhailovich)

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Liapunov, Sergei (Mikhailovich)

Liapunov, Sergei (Mikhailovich), noted Russian pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Yaroslavl, Nov. 30, 1859; d. Paris, Nov. 8, 1924. He began piano studies with his mother, a talented pianist, then took courses at the Russian Musical Soc. in Nizhny-Novgorod; later studied piano with Klindworth, Pabst, and Wilborg and composition with Hubert, Tchaikovsky, and Taneyev at the Moscow Cons. (1878–83). He went in 1884 to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Balakirev circle; was asst. director of the Imperial Chapel (1894–1902), inspector of music at St. Helen’s Inst. (1902–10), and director of the Free Music School (1905–11); was prof. of piano and theory at the Cons. (1910–17) and a lecturer at the State Inst. of Art (1919). Liapunov toured widely as a pianist in Europe, and also appeared as a conductor; he spent his last years in Paris. He wrote a number of virtuoso pieces for piano, including the 12 études d’exécution transcendante in sharp keys, written in emulation of Liszt’s similarly titled works in flat keys. He also wrote some attractive character pieces for piano and songs. With Balakirev and Liadov, he was commissioned by the Imperial Geographic Soc. in 1893 to collect folk songs from the regions of Vologda, Viatka, and Kostroma; 30 of his arrangements of them for voice and piano were publ. by the society in 1897. He also utilized original folk songs in several of his works.


orch.:Bailada, overture (1883; rev. 1894–96); 2 syms.: No. 1 (1887; St. Petersburg, April 23, 1888) and No. 2 (1910–17; Leningrad, Dec. 28, 1950); 2 piano concertos (1890, 1909); Solemn Overture on Russian Themes(St. Petersburg, May 6, 1896); Polonaise(1902); Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes for Piano and Orch. (1907; Berlin, March 23, 1908); Zelazowa Wola, symphonic poem named after Chopin’s birthplace, commemorating his centennial (1909); Hashish, symphonic poem (1913); Violin Concerto (1915; rev. 1921). other: Numerous piano pieces, including 12 études d’exécution transcendante(1900–1905) and a Sonata (1906–08); many songs.


M. Shifman, S.M. L.: Zhizn i tvorchestvo(S.M. L.: Life and Works; Moscow, I960).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire