Skip to main content

Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna)

Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna)

Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna), significant Russian composer and pedagogue; b. Petrograd, June 17, 1919. She studied at the arts college affiliated with the Leningrad Cons. (1937-39) and composition with Shostakovich and Steinberg at the Leningrad Cons. (1940-41; 1945-47), where she pursued postgraduate training with G. Rimsky-Korsakov (1947-50). From 1948 to 1977 she taught composition there. In 1992 she was awarded the Artist’s Prize of Heidelberg. During the Stalin era, her music was rarely performed; although never officially condemned by the Soviet state, her compositions were accused of being difficult to understand, “narrow- minded/’ and “obstinate/’ Shostakovich defended her against such accusations and held her in such esteem that he sent MSS of his own scores to her for comment. He quoted from the finale of her Clarinet Trio (1949) in his String Quartet No. 5 and in his Suite on Verses of Michelangelo. Ustvolskaya’s early music was marked by a Romantic Russian manner, but she later developed greater melodic diversity and harmonic complexity, with occasional usages of serial techniques. Some of her works are of vast dimensions. The spiritual qualities of many of her scores are a welcome complement to their startling dissonances and rhythmic drive.


(All 1Stperf. in Leningrad unless otherwise given): orch Concerto for Piano, Strings, and Timpani (1946); 5 syms.: No. 1 for 2 Boy’s Voices and Orch. (1955), No. 2, True and Eternal Bliss,for Voice and Orch. (1979; Oct. 8, 1980), No. 3, Jesus, Messiah, Save Us! (1983; Amsterdam, Jan. 18, 1995), and Nos. 4 and 5 (see CHAMBER ). CHAMBER : String Quartet (1945); Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1949; Jan. 11, 1968); Octet for 2 Oboes, 4 Violins, Timpani, and Piano (1949-50; Nov. 17, 1970); Violin Sonata (1953; March 5, 1961); Grand Duetfor Cello and Piano (1959; Dec. 14,1977); Duet for Violin and Piano (1964; May 23, 1968); Composition No. 1: Dona nobis pacemfor Piccolo, Tuba, and Piano (1970-71; Feb. 19,1975), No. 2: Dies imefor 8 Double Basses, Percussion, and Piano (1972-73; Feb. 14, 1977), and No. 3: Benedictus, Qui Venufor 4 Flutes, 4 Bassoons, and Piano (1974-75; Dec. 14, 1977); Sym. No. 4, Prayer,for Contralto, Trumpet, Tam-tam, and Piano (1985-87; Heidelberg, June 24, 1988); Sym. No. 5, Amen,for Male Speaker, Oboe, Trumpet, Tuba, Violin, and Percussion (1989-90). P i a n o : 6 sonatas: No. 1 (1947; Feb. 20, 1974), No. 2 (1949; Dec. 14, 1977), No. 3 (1952; Feb. 16, 1972), No. 4 (1957; April 4, 1973), No. 5 (1986), and No. 6 (1988); 12 Preludes (1953; March 20, 1968).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . 22 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . (January 22, 2019).

"Ustvolskaya, Galina (Ivanovna)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Retrieved January 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.