The Russian composer Alexander Glazunov was born on 10 August 1865 in St Petersburg to a wealthy family. He studied piano from the age of nine and composition at thirteen. Mily Balakirev spotted the boy's talent and introduced him to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who became his teacher. Glazunov wrote his first symphony at the age of sixteen, and Rimsky-Korsakov conducted it.
The young composer was taken up by M P Belyayev, who organised further performances, accompanied Glazunov to Western Europe and began performing and publishing the works of Glazunov and other Russian composers.
Glazunov became a professor (1899) and then director (1905) of the St Petersburg Conservatory, and by this time he was known internationally, conducting in Paris and receiving honorary doctorates from Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England.
He remained director of the conservatory until 1930, teaching Shostakovich (who recalled Glazunov's alcoholism), but left Russia in 1928, touring Europe and America before settling in Paris, where he died on 21 March 1936, aged seventy.
His works include eight symphonies (and an incomplete ninth), the symphonic poem Stenka Razin (1885), two concert waltzes, a violin concerto (1904), three ballets (including the popular Raymonda of 1898 and The Seasons of 1900) and seven string quartets.
A selection of M&V articles about Alexander Glazunov
CD Spotlight. Tip Top Music - Tine Thing Helseth and Kathryn Stott, heard by Howard Smith. 'Ever full of daring ...'
Ensemble. Haunting Performance - Rob Buckland joins Jonathan Trout and Derby Concert Orchestra for Borodin, Glazunov, Piazzolla and Rachmaninov, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Striking Power - Leslie Howard plays Rachmaninov, heard by Howard Smith. '... a staggering technique.'
CD Spotlight. Delicate Mastery - Orchestral music by Glazunov, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... dashingly done ...'
Ensemble. Sensitive and Vivid - Laura Isaacson and Patricia Capone, heard by Mary Isaac
A Golden Treasury - Havergal Brian on European and American music, read by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Charm and Elan - Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ingrid Fliter and the Cleveland Orchestra, heard by Lawrence Budmen
CD Spotlight. Poetic Lyricism - Tim Hugh and Olga Sitkovetsky at London's Wigmore Hall, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... breathtaking musicianship captured my attention ...'
Record Box. Many Moods - Orchestral music by Glazunov, recommended by Robert Anderson
CD Spotlight. A Memorable Disc - Vadim Gluzman plays Tchaikovsky and Glazunov, enjoyed by Robert Anderson. 'Vadim Gluzman is a violinist of remarkable gifts.'
CD Spotlight. Enjoyable Colours - Russian music from Stokowski, reviewed by Patric Standford. 'The recordings do not show half a century of wear ...'
CD Spotlight. Thrilling impetus - José Serebrier conducts Glazunov, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... the Scottish players bring appropriate breadth and commitment ...'
CD Spotlight. To be savoured - Aubrey Brain plays Bach, Brahms, Glazunov and Mozart, appreciated by David Thompson. '... music making of the highest calibre ...'
CD Spotlight - Musical eloquence. 'The playing under Alexander Anissimov is as accomplished as the music.' Glazunov symphonies, with Robert Anderson
Planning your collection - Glazunov -