Arthur Lourié

Russian composer Arthur-Vincent Lourié was born into a rich Jewish family in Propoysk - now Slavgorod in Belarus - on 14 May 1892. He later converted to Catholicism. He was partly self-taught, but also studied composition at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Glazunov.

Contemporary art had a strong influence on Lourié, and he was the first Russian Futurist composer.

After the 1917 October Revolution he initially worked as head of the music division of the 'Commissariat of Popular Enlightenment', but became disenchanted with the authorities and defected on an official visit to Berlin, initially settling in Paris, after which his music was banned in Russia. During this period he became friends with the French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain and also with Igor Stravinsky.

In 1940 he had to flee again, when the Germans occupied Paris, this time settling in New York, continuing to compose but getting very few performances of his serious music.

Arthur Lourié died in Princeton, New Jersey, USA on 12 October 1966 aged seventy-four.


A selection of articles about Arthur Lourié

Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Behind the Wall of Sleep