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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 23 April 1891Sontsovka, Bakhmut Uyezd, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire [now Krasne, Krasnoarmiisk Raion, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine]
Date of Death 5 March 1953Moscow, USSR [now Russia]  (stroke)
Birth NameSergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

Mini Bio (1)

Prokofiev was a multitalented man and an innovative composer. He learned piano from his mother and chess from his father. He always had a chess set on his piano, and was able to play against the chess champions of his time. He studied music with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, graduated with highest marks from the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1914), and was rewarded with a grand piano. He emigrated from Russia after the revolution, and made successful concert tours in Europe and the U.S. In 1918 in New York he met Spanish singer Carolina Codina (Lina Llubera), they married in Paris, in 1923, and had two sons.

Prokofiev's radiant optimism and his childlike personality shines in his popular orchestral suite "Peter and the Wolf" and in the "Classical Symphony". His humorous irony and wit is popping up in piano pieces named "Sarcasms", also in his five piano concertos, ballets and film scores, all written in his instantly identifiable musical language. He wrote film scores for 'Lieutenant Kije (1934)', Alexander Nevsky (1938), 'Cinderella (1960)', and the two-part "Ivan the Terrible" (1944, 1958), directed by 'Sergei Eisenstein.

His independent way of life and his free-spirited personality was irritating the Soviet authorities and some Soviet composers, who were jealous of his freedom and success. But the Soviet authorities kept inviting the world-famous composer, and paid him for his music and hotel in Moscow. That was a Soviet propaganda game, similar to the one played against the writer Maxim Gorky. When Prokofiev moved from Paris to Moscow with his wife and children - the trap closed. His Spanish wife was later exiled to a prison-camp in Siberia. All of his music, that he created while outside of the Soviet Union, was banned as cosmopolitan and antiSoviet. Some Soviet composers were gloating, and Shostakovich wrote in his "Testimony", that Prokofiev had "the soul of a goose" and was "scared out of his wits". Prokofiev's friend director Vsevolod Meyerhold was arrested and executed. Under such conditions Prokofiev wrote music score for the film of Sergei M. Eisenstein "Ivan the Terrible", alluding to Joseph Stalin.

Prokofiev's second wife, Mira Mendelson, was his saviour. Their union was inspirational, and he wrote the powerful late symphonies and the brilliant ninth piano sonata for Svyatoslav Richter. But another official attack on his music and life started in 1948. The attack hurt Prokofiev and many other intellects, such as Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, Aram Khachaturyan, and ended only after the death Joseph Stalin. Ironically, Prokofiev died on the same day and hour, as Stalin.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (2)

Mira Mendelson (13 January 1948 - 5 March 1953) (his death)
Carolina Codina (29 September 1923 - 1941) (separated) (2 children)

Trivia (4)

Died on the same day as Joseph Stalin.
One of the greatest and most famous composers of the twentieth century.
His best-known works include his Symphony No. 1 (the "Classical"), the "Lt. Kije" music, and his classic musical story for children, "Peter and the Wolf".
Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite was sampled by Greg Lake on the song "I Believe in Father Christmas", which was released as a single in the UK in 1975 and reached number two on the chart. Music from the same suite was also used by Sting on his 1985 UK number 12 hit "Russians", for which Prokofiev also receives a writing credit.

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