Shirinsky, Vasili (Petrovich)

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Shirinsky, Vasili (Petrovich)

Shirinsky, Vasili (Petrovich), Russian violinist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Ekaterinodar, Jan. 17, 1901; d. Mamontovka, near Moscow, Aug. 16, 1965. He studied violin with D. Krein and composition with Miaskovsky at the Moscow Cons., then played in orchs.; in 1923 he joined the Moscow Cons. Quartet as second violin. Concurrently, he was active as conductor with the Moscow Radio Orch. (1930–32) and the Opera Theater Orch. (1932–36); was a teacher (1939–49) and a prof. (1949–65) at the Moscow Cons. In 1944 he was made a People’s Artist of the R.S.F.S.R. He wrote 2 operas, Pyer i Lyus (1943–46) and Ivan the Terrible (1951–54), Violin Concerto (1921), 2 syms. (1936, 1938), Harp Concerto (1957), 6 string quartets (1923, 1925, 1929, 1940, 1953, 1958), piano pieces, including a Sonata (1929), 98 fugues (1937–63), and 24 preludes (1962), incidental music for theatrical plays, film scores, and choruses. His music adheres to the principles of socialist conservatism, emphasizing playability and tonal coherence; it was met with appreciation by the Soviet critics, but its performances were few and far between. His brother, Sergei Shirinsky (b. Ekaterinodar, July 18, 1903; d. Moscow, Oct. 18, 1974), was a cellist, who promoted in his programs the cause of Soviet music; he also made arrangements of various works by Classical and Romantic composers.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire