Litinsky, Genrik, distinguished Russian composer; b. Lipovetz, March 17, 1901; d. Moscow, July 26, 1985. He studied composition with Glière at the Moscow Cons., graduating in 1928. He subsequently taught there (1928–43), numbering among his students Khrennikov, Zhiganov, Arutiunian, and other Soviet composers. In 1945 he went to Yakutsk as an ethnomusicologist. In collaboration with native Siberian composers, he produced the first national Yakut operas, based on authentic folk melorhythms and arranged in contemporary harmonies according to the precepts of socialist realism: Nurgun Botur (Yakutsk, June 29, 1947), Sygy Kyrynastyr (Yakutsk, July 4, 1947), and Red Shaman (Yakutsk, Dec. 9,1967). He wrote 3 Yakut ballets: Altan’s Joy (Yakutsk, June 19,1963), Field Flower (Yakutsk, July 2, 1947), and Crimson Kerchief (Yakutsk, Jan. 9,1968). Other works include: Sym. (1928), Dagestan Suite for Orch. (1931), Trumpet Concerto (1934), Festive Rhapsody for Orch. (1966), 12 string quartets (1923–61), String Octet (1944), 12 concert studies for Cello (1967), 12 concert studies for Trumpet and Piano (1968), and 15 concert studies for Oboe and Piano (1969). He publ. the valuable manuals Problems of Polyphony (3 vols., 1965,1966,1967), ranging from pentatonic to dodecaphonic patterns and from elementary harmonization to polytonality; also Formation of Imitation in the Strict Style (1970). He also collected, transcribed, and organized the basic materials of several Soviet Republics; altogether he compiled musical samples from as many as 23 distinct ethnic divisions of folkloric elements. He was in time duly praised by the Soviet authorities on aesthetics, but not until the policy of the Soviet Union itself had changed. In the meantime, Litinsky became the target of unconscionable attacks by reactionary groups within Soviet musical organizations who denounced him as a formalist contaminated by Western bourgeois culture. In one instance, his personal library was ransacked in search of alleged propaganda. In 1964 he was named a People’s Artist of the Yakut S.S.R. and of the Tatar Autonomous S.S.R.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire