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ON THIS DAY | Russian Composer & Pianist Dmitri Shostakovich Died in 1975

Shostakovich is known for his difficult and complex relationship with Stalin and the Soviet Union — often writing politically-motivated works with hidden inner meanings


Soviet-Russian composer and piano virtuoso Dmitri Shostakovich died on this day in 1975, aged 68.

One of the prominent figures of 20th-century Western art music, his output includes 15 symphonies, 15 string quartets, six concerti, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two string octets.

He is remembered for his complex relationship with the Soviet Union during a time when Stalin and Soviet officials denounced art — including Shostakovich's — that they deemed unaligned with their national vision.

During his lifetime, Shostakovich wrote music in implicit protest of Soviet rule as well as intensely nationalistic works and navigating a double life between an artist under Stalin and a private composer of tragic, defiant, and often death-obsessed music.

He died from lung cancer and is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery, in Moscow.



Shostakovich: Symphony Nos. 5 & 9

Leonard Bernstein

New York Philharmonic

Release Date: September 21, 1999

Sony Classical

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