Alexander Cherepnin

The composer and pianist Alexander Cherepnin (1899–1971) was born into a well-known St. Petersburg family of artists. His father Nikolai, himself a distinguished composer, taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where Sergei Prokofiev was one of his students. In 1917, Alexander Cherepnin also began to study composition and piano there. Just one year later, the family fled the turmoil of the Russian Revolution to Tbilisi in Georgia and finally emigrated to Paris in 1921, where they settled permanently. Alexander Cherepnin initially pursued a career as a pianist, and alongside this had increasing success as a composer with works in the wake of neo-classicism and with iconoclastic scores such as his 1st Symphony (1927).

In the 1930s, Cherepnin’s encounter with Far Eastern culture, which he got to know on extensive concert tours, was significant. He owed inspiration above all to China, and here, conversely, he was also able to gain considerable influence as a teacher. In 1950, Cherepnin went to the USA, where he had been offered a professorship in Chicago; in 1958, he became an American citizen. Cherepnin’s works, which were at times much performed, followed a polystylistic, neo-romantic approach in later times.

As of August 2021

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