Aram Khachaturian

Khachaturian was born in Tiflis, Georgia, Russia (now Tbilisi, Georgia) to a poor Armenian family (the influence of Armenian folk music is prominent in his work). In his youth, he was fascinated by the music he heard around him, but at first he did not study music or learn to read it. In 1921, he travelled to Moscow all on his own in order to begin his musical studies, having almost no musical education and unable to speak a word of Russian. However, he showed such a great musical talent that he was admitted to the Gnesin Institute where he studied cello under Mikhail Gnesin and entered a composition class (1925). In 1929, he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied under Nikolai Myaskovsky. In the 1930's he married the composer Nina Makarova, a fellow student from Myaskovsky's class. In 1951, he became professor at the Gnesiny State Musical and Pedagogical Institute (Moscow) and the Moscow Conservatory.

His works include concertos for violin, cello and piano (the latter originally including an early part for the flexatone), concerto-rhapsodies for the same instruments, three symphonies the third containing parts for fifteen trumpets and organ, and the ballets Spartak (Spartacus) and Gayane, the latter featuring in its final act what is probably his most famous movement, the 'Sabre Dance'. He also composed some film music. The cinematic quality of his music for Spartacus was clearly seen when it was used as the theme for a popular BBC drama series, The Onedin Line, during the 1970s. Since then, it has become one of the most popular of all classical pieces for UK audiences.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1936 Piano Concerto D-flat 4.00 stars 2 CD
Khachaturian Comments:
Alicia de Larrocha - Piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos
1940 Violin Concerto D-minor 4.00 stars 2 CD
Khachaturian Comments:
Ruggiero Ricci - Violin
London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Anatol Fistulari
1941 Masquerade (Suite) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra cond. Kiril Kondrashin
1942 Gayaneh (Suite) 4.00 stars  LP
Khachaturian Comments:
Suite from the ballet
Includes the famous Sable Dance
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Aram Khachaturian
1943 Symphony No 2 Symphony with the Bells 4.00 stars 2 CD
Khachaturian Comments:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Aram Khachaturian
1944 Masquerada, suite from the incidental music for orchestra 4.00 stars 2 CD
Khachaturian Comments:
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Stanley Black
1956 Spartacus 4.00 stars LP
Khachaturian Comments:
Suite from the ballet
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Aram Khachaturian
1956 Spartacus (Complete Ballet) 4.00 stars DVD
Comments:
Ballet with Carlos Acosta as Spartacus
Colonne Concerts Orchestra cond. Pavel Klinichev