Slonimsky, Nicolas (Nikolai) (Leonidovich)

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Slonimsky, Nicolas [Nikolai] (Leonidovich) (b St Petersburg, 1894; d Los Angeles, 1995). Russ.-born Amer. conductor, composer, and lexicographer (Amer. cit. 1931). Had first pf. lesson at age of 6 from his aunt, Isabella Vengerova. Became rehearsal pianist at Kiev Opera and taught at Yalta Cons. 1920. Went to Paris as secretary to Koussevitzky. Settled in USA 1923. Cond. concerts of Amer. mus. in Europe 1931–2, incl. Ives's Three Places in New England, and cond. in USA of works by Varèse (world premières), Riegger, Cowell, and Chávez. Comps. used atonal, polytonal, and quarter-tone effects. Founder and cond., Boston Chamber Orch., 1927–34. Ed. of complete rev. of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th edns. 1958, 1978, 1984, 1991). Author of Music Since 1900 (chronological list of major mus. events throughout world, 1937, 4th edn. 1971, supp. 1986, 1993), Lexicon of Musical Invective (1952), Lectionary of Music (1988), and autobiography Perfect Pitch (1988).