Aram Khachaturian, classical music composer

Aram Khachaturian image

Aram Khachaturian


Today considered to be a prominent Armenian composer, Aram Khachaturian was born on June 6, 1903 in Tiflis (Tbilisi), the capital of Georgia. His father was a bookbinder and his family was poor. During his youth, he possessed a strong fascination for music but never studied it or even learned to read it.

In 1921, a year after Armenia was declared a Soviet republic, he travelled to Moscow where his brother was the stage director of the Second Moscow Art Theatre. A young adult, Khachaturian still had virtually no musical education. Nevertheless, his remarkable talents were enough for him to be admitted to the Gnessin Institute where he studied cello and later composition. In 1929, he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory, continuing his composition lessons, and graduated in 1934.

Following his graduation from the Moscow Conservatory, Khachaturian went on to hold important posts in Soviet Russia. In 1937, he was deputy chairman of the Moscow branch of the Composers' Union and two years later he was appointed vice-chairman of the Organizing Committee of Soviet Composers. In 1943, he became an official member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. However, only five years later he fell from official favor with the Party due to a composition, his Third Symphony, which ironically he had composed as a tribute to communism.

Following World War II and the Soviet Union's subsequent harsh controls over its artists, Khachaturian, along with Shostakovich and Prokofiev, was officially condemned and branded as "formalist" and "anti-popular." Despite the worldwide reputation of these composers, they were forced to give public apologies. Khachaturian was particularly affected by this event and even considered giving up composing. Nevertheless, he rebounded and eventually regained official favor. He went on to receive numerous state awards and even served as the Secretary of the Board of the Composers' Union beginning in 1957. He died in Moscow on May 1, 1978 and was buried in Armenia.

Khachaturian's works include concertos for the violin, cello and piano (the latter being his first composition to gain recognition in the West), three symphonies, piano works (most notably two albums of music for children), and film and incidental music. His most well-known music, however, comes from his two ballets, Spartacus and Gayane, including his famous "Sabre Dance." Though his style was considerably controlled by the state, Khachaturian nevertheless inspired several composers after him and his music is generally applauded for bringing Armenian art to the world stage.

Composer Title Date Action
Aram Khachaturian Sabre Dance 01/23/2009 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus 01/22/2009 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Piano Sonata, 1. Allegro Vivace 07/07/2010 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Sabre Dance 07/27/2011 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Toccata 09/29/2011 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Monolog-Sonata for violin 10/26/2011 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Toccata 12/10/2011 Play
Aram Khachaturian Violin concerto 03/21/2012 Play
Aram Khachaturian Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano 04/09/2013 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Toccata 03/19/2015 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Adagio from Spartacus 08/19/2015 Play Add to playlist
Aram Khachaturian Sabre Dance 07/11/2016 Play