Nikolai Tcherepnin

Russian composer, pianist and conductor Nikolai Tcherepnin was born on 15 May 1873 into the family of a well-known, rich physician with the same name who knew Dostoyevsky and Mussorgsky. The younger Nikolai studied law (but was composing steadly all the time) and then studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov.

He taught, first at the Court Chapel and then at St Petersburg Conservatory, where his students included Prokofiev, and where he was principal (1905-17) and taught conducting.

He was regular conductor of Belyayev's Russian Symphony Concerts from 1902 and guest-conducted elsewhere.

His most famous work is the ballet Le Pavillon d'Armide (1906-7), which he conducted himself for the whole of its first season at the Ballets Russes.

From 1908 he was conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre, and directed the first Paris performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel.

From 1918 until the Bolshevik takeover of Georgia in 1921, he was director of the National Conservatory of Tbilisi. He then moved to Paris, continuing to conduct until his hearing deteriorated in 1933, and died there on 26 June 1945, aged seventy-two.

His son was the composer and pianist Alexander Tcherepnin.

A selection of articles about Nikolai Tcherepnin

Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Rough winds do shake

CD Spotlight. The Magic of Ballets Russes - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Warner Classics' box set. '... a gem which should be on the shelves of all those interested in the music of the early decades of the twentieth century ...'

CD Spotlight. In Grand Style - Ballet music by Tcherepnin, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'The Moscow Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Henry Shek, performs this music ... with all the passion and commitment such a score requires.'