Russian military conductor and composer Valery Khalilov was born on 30 January 1952 at what is now Termez in Uzbekistan, into a family famous for producing military conductors. He began writing his own music at the age of four, and became an accomplished composer, writing music for brass band plus romances and songs. Many of his new military marches and songs were played at Victory Day parades.
He was a career officer, studying at Moscow Military Musicians School and then conducting with G P Alyavdin at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. Rising through the ranks, in 2002 he became chief conductor of the Military Band Service of the Armed Forces of Russia.
He retired from active service in August 2016, and was scheduled to conduct in Syria as part of the celebrations for Russian troops welcoming the new year, but he died travelling there, in the plane that went down in the Black Sea off Sochi on 25 December 2016, aged sixty-four.