A Russian composer, pianist and conductor, creator of renowned masterpieces, including operas and ballets.
Sergei Prokofiev was born on 23 April 1891 in the village of Sontsovka (today Ukraine). He developed a passion for music owing to his mother, an excellent pianist with a penchant for Chopin and Beethoven. With his first piece written at the age of five, by the time he reached 19 he was an esteemed composer, even though, having the reputation of a rebel, he caused public outrage.
Prokofiev studied the piano and, during World War I, the organ at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. In the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, he decided to leave Russia. He would spend several years in the USA, before moving to Paris, where he established contact with Sergei Diaghilev, for whose Les Ballets Russes he wrote the ballet Le pas d'acier (The Leap of Steel, 1927). In 1936, Prokofiev and his family settled permanently in Moscow, where the composer died on 5 March 1953.
Prokofiev wrote nine ballets, with the most popular being Romeo and Juliet (1938, premiered in Brno, Czechoslovakia) and Cinderella (1943), conceived while he was living in the Soviet Union.
His extensive oeuvre, spanning multiple genres, includes seven symphonies, eight finished operas, e.g. L'amour des trois oranges, The Gambler (based on a story by F. M. Dostoyevsky) and War and Peace (after L. N. Tolstoy’s novel), five piano and two violin concerti, numerous vocal-orchestral works, chamber and other pieces, as well as incidental and film music (Lermontov, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, etc.).