Happy Birthday, Nikolai!

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. (Image: Wikipedia)

Today is Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov’s birthday. Born in 1844 into an aristocratic family, he is noted as being a member of The Five. Along with César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin, and
Mily Balakirev, the group of five composers set on a mission to create a distinct style to classical music. Their inspiration came from Russian folk music and Western perceptions of Middle Eastern culture.

Where members of The Five wanted a division between Western and Russian compositions, Nikolai found harmony. He was particularly inspired by the styles of Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner. His style would have a tremendous impact on Russian classical musicians and influence non-Russian composers like Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

Among Nikolai’s greatest compositions is Scheherazade, performed in January by your RPO. (Click here to learn more about the piece with Concertmaster Juliana Athayde.) Based on One Thousand and One Nights, the composition is a musical portrayal in which the Vizier’s daughter saves her own life through 1,001 nights of story-telling.

The RPO will play a modern adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite in the 19/20 Phils Opener – Scheherazade .2 – as part of Rochester’s Fringe Festival, with world renowned violinist Leila Josefowicz as our soloist.

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