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Dmitry Nikolayevich Smirnov (composer)

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Title: Dmitry Nikolayevich Smirnov (composer)  
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Subject: Galina Ustvolskaya, Elena Firsova, Khrennikov's Seven, Viktor Suslin, Philip Firsov
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Dmitry Nikolayevich Smirnov (composer)

Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov (Russian: Дми́трий Никола́евич Смирно́в), also Dmitri N. Smirnov and D. Smirnov-Sadovsky (pen names) (born 2 November 1948, Minsk) is a Russian and British (since 1991) composer.


He was born in Minsk into a family of opera singers Nikolay Senkin-Sadovsky and Eugenia Smirnova. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory 1967-1972 under Nikolai Sidelnikov, Yuri Kholopov and Edison Denisov. He also studied privately with Webern's pupil Philip Herschkowitz. He is married to the composer Elena Firsova. Their children are Philip Firsov (an artist and sculptor), and Alissa Firsova (a composer, pianist and conductor).

His Solo for Harp won First Prize in a competition in Maastricht (1976). His two operas Tiriel and Thel on a text by William Blake were premiered in 1989 (the first at the Freiburg Festival, Germany, and the second at the Almeida Festival in London). The same year his First Symphony (The Seasons) was performed at the Tanglewood Festival, United States. His orchestral Mozart-Variations were staged as a ballet in Pforzheim in Germany (1992). Other premieres include the oratorio A Song of Liberty (Leeds, UK – 1993), Cello Concerto (Manchester, UK – 1996), cantata Song of Songs, (Geneva, Switzerland – 2001) Triple Concerto 2 (LSO, Barbican, London – 2004). Many of Smirnov's works reflect his fascination with the poetry and art of William Blake.

In 1979 he was blacklisted as one of the "Khrennikov's Seven" at the Sixth Congress of the Union of Soviet Composers for unapproved participation in some festivals of Soviet music in the West. He was one of the founders of Russia's new ACM - Association for Contemporary Music, established in Moscow in 1990. Since 1991 Smirnov have been resident of England. He was a Composer-in-Residence at University of Cambridge (St John's College), at Dartington, and Visiting Professor at Keele University (1993-8). In 1998 Smirnov and his family settled in St Albans. From 2003 he has taught at the Goldsmiths College, University of London.

His work has been performed by many notable conductors, including: Sir Andrew Davis, Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Eötvös, Oliver Knussen, Vassily Sinaisky, Pavel Kogan, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Gunther Schuller, and Yan Pascal Tortelier. Scores of selected works are available from various publishers including: Hans Sikorski, Hamburg, Boosey & Hawkes, London, and G. Schirmer, New York.

His books

Selected works

  • Piano Sonata no.1 (1967), no.2 (1980), no.3 (1992), no.4 String of Destiny (2000), no.5 (2001), no.6 Blake-Sonata (2008)
  • Violin Sonata no.1 (1969), no.2 (1979), no.3 (1998), no.4 (2005)
  • Piano Concerto no.1 (1971), no 2 (1978)
  • Eternal Refuge for voice and piano trio (also orchestra version) Text by Mikhail Bulgakov (1972)
  • String Quartet no.1 (1974), no.2 (1985), no.3 (1993), no.4 (1993), no.5 (1994), no.6 (1998), no.7 (2005), no.8 Inferno (2007)
  • Clarinet Concerto (1974)
  • Pastorale for orchestra (1975)
  • Mirages for saxophone Quartet (1975)
  • Solo for harp (1976)
  • The Sorrow of past Days for voice, flute, percussion, violin and cello. Text by Alexander Pushkin (1976)
  • Triple Concerto no.1 for saxophone, piano, double bass, strings & percussion (1977)
  • Piano Trio no.1 (1977), no.2 (1992), no.3 "Tri-o-Tri" (2005)
  • Cello Sonata (1978)
  • The Seasons for voice, flute, viola and harp. Text by William Blake (1979)
  • Symphony no.1 The Seasons for orchestra (1980)
  • Symphony no.2 Destiny for four soloists, mixed chorus & orchestra. Text by Friedrich Hölderlin (1982)
  • The Night Rhymes cantata for voice & orchestra. Text by Alexander Pushkin (1982)
  • Tiriel an opera after William Blake (1983–1985)
  • The Lamentations of Thel chamber opera after William Blake (1986)
  • Mozart-Variations for orchestra (1987)
  • The Visions of Coleridge for voice and 10 players. Text by S. T. Coleridge (1987)
  • Songs of Love and Madness for voice, clarinet, celesta, harp & string trio.Text by William Blake (1988)
  • The Seven Angels of William Blake for piano (1988)
  • Blake’s Pictures (ballet): The Moonlight Story (1988), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Abel (1991), The River of Life (1992)
  • Eight-line Poems for voice, flute, horn, harp and string trio. Text by Osip Mandelstam
  • Violin Concerto no.1 (1990), no.2 (1995). no.3 (1996)
  • A Song of Liberty oratorio for four soloists, mixed chorus and orchestra. Text by William Blake (1991)
  • Piano Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello & double bass (1992)
  • Cello concerto (1992)
  • Ariel Songs for voice, 2 recorders, cello & harpsichord. Text by William Shakespeare (1993)
  • The Guardians of Space for orchestra (1994)
  • Symphony no.3 Voyages for orchestra (1995)
  • The Music of the Spheres for piano (1995)
  • The Bride in her Grave opera. Libretto by Ruth Fainlight (1995)
  • Elegy in memory of Edison Denisov in two versions: a) for solo cello, b) for sixteen players (1997)
  • The Bird of Time for orchestra (1997)
  • Song of Songs cantata for soprano, tenor, mixed chorus & orchestra.Text by King Solomon (1997)
  • Between Scylla and Charybdis for string orchestra (1997)
  • Mass for mixed chorus (1998)
  • Opus 111 for clarinet, cello & piano (1998)
  • Twilight for soprano and six players. Text by James Joyce. (1998-2000)
  • Portrait in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich, for wind octet & double bass (1999)
  • Concerto Piccolo (to Mstislav Rostropovich) for Cello & Orchestra (2001)
  • Innocence of Experience for tape. Text by William Blake (2001)
  • Metaplasm no.1 for piano (also for orchestra, 2002), no.2 for piano (2002)
  • Triple Concerto no.2 for violin, harp double bass and orchestra (2003)
  • Dream Journey for voice, flute clarinet, vln, cello and piano. Text by Matsuo Bashō (2003-2004)
  • Red Bells in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich, for piano and ensemble of seven players (2005)
  • Requiem for four soloists, mixed chorus and orchestra (2006)
  • Amore sola' for solo violin (2006)
  • Proverbs of Hell for voice and piano. Text by William Blake (2006)
  • The Lonely Wanderer for voice and cello. Text by Lermontov (2007)
  • Duo in Green for 2 Violins (2008)
  • Space Odyssey for Large Symphony Orchestra (2008)
  • From the Pine to the Moon for voice and cello. Text by Lermontov (2009)
  • The Book of Constellations for ensemble (2009- in progress)
  • The Last Trumpet for trumpet and timpani (2010)
  • Kubla Khan: A Vision in a Dream'for tenor (or soprano), bajan, violin and cello. Text by S. T. Coleridge. Composed together with Elena Firsova and Alissa Firsova (2010/2011)
  • Zodiac for orchestra (2010- in progress)
  • Canisi-Variations for violin and piano (2011)
  • Papageno-Variations for orchestra (after Beethoven's 12 Vaiations for cello & piano, opus 66) (2012)
  • Visionary Heads (after pictures by William Blake) for piano (2013)



External links

  • Dmitri N. Smirnov's brief bio at Boosey & Hawkes site
  • Dmitri N. Smirnov's website
  • Dmitri N. Smirnov at Recmusic (the texts of the vocal works)
  • Dmitri N. Smirnov: «A Geometer of Sound Crystals: A Book on Philipp Hershkowitz», ssm 34, Ernst Kuhn, Berlin, 2003
  • Dmitri N. Smirnov: «The Anatomy of Theme in Beethoven's Piano Sonatas», ssm 46, Ernst Kuhn, Berlin, 2008
  • Dmitri N. Smirnov Channel on YouTube

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