Sergei Prokofiev Life Summary Essay


(b Sontsovka, Bakhmutsk region, Yekaterinoslav district, Ukraine, 11/April 23, 1891; d Moscow, March 5, 1953). Russian composer and pianist. He began his career as a composer while still a student, and so had a deep investment in Russian Romantic traditions – even if he was pushing those traditions to a point of exacerbation and caricature – before he began to encounter, and contribute to, various kinds of modernism in the second decade of the new century. Like many artists, he left his country directly after the October Revolution; he was the only composer to return, nearly 20 years later. His inner traditionalism, coupled with the neo-classicism he had helped invent, now made it possible for him to play a leading role in Soviet culture, to whose demands for political engagement, utility and simplicity he responded with prodigious creative energy. In his last years, however, official encouragement turned into persecution, and his musical voice understandably faltered....

Sergei Prokofiev Biography

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his life.

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor born in the late nineteenth century in what today is known as eastern Ukraine. Composing his first music at the age of five, he entered St. Petersburg Conservatory at the age of thirteen and made his first public appearance four years later. Soon he made his name known nationwide, but after the February Revolution, he realized that he had little scope in Russia and left first for USA and then for France with an official passport. Later he returned to his homeland and by the age of fifty-four began to be counted as the foremost composer of Soviet Union. Unfortunately soon after that, he fell foul with the authorities and had eight of his major works banned from public performances. His last years were spent in ill health and financial constraints, but a few years after his death, he once again began to be counted as one of the best Russian composers working in every genre of music, including symphonies, concerti, film music, operas, ballets, and program pieces.

Sergei Prokofiev

Childhood & Early Years

  • Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was born on 23 April 1891 in Sontsovka, then a remote rural estate under Russian Empire. It is now part of Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine and is known by the name Krasne.
  • His father, Sergei Alexeyevich Prokofiev, an agronomist, was a soil engineer at Sontsovka at the time of his birth. His mother Maria/Grigoryevna (née Zhitkova) Prokofieva, was an accomplished pianist. The daughter of a former serf, she was tutored in theatre and art by her master’s family from an early age.
  • Sergeyevich was his parents’ only surviving child, having two elder sisters who died in infancy. Watching his interest in music, he mother gave him his first lesson in piano as he turned three.
  • As Sergeyevich turned five, he composed his first piece. Meant for piano, it was called ‘Indian Gallop’. The composition was written by his mother in the F Lydian mode. Subsequently, he wrote a few more pieces.
  • In 1899, his parents took him to Moscow, where he for the first time heard an opera. Intrigued, he began to write one. Very soon a libretto in three acts and six scenes was ready. Later with the help of his mother, he transcribed the music.
  • In 1902, Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was taken to meet Sergei Taneyev, the Director of the Moscow Conservatory. Impressed by his musical talent, Taneyev persuaded composer and pianist Reinhold Glière to give him private lessons during the summers of 1902 and 1903.
  • It was during this period that Prokofiev first tried his hand at symphony. Slowly, he also started experimenting with harmonies, leading to the creation of a number of short piano pieces. He called them "ditties", and these later laid the foundation of his musical style.


At St. Petersburg Conservatory


During WWI & Russian Revolution


Living Abroad


Returning Home


Last Years


Major Works


Awards & Achievements


Personal Life & Legacy




See the events in life of Sergei Prokofiev in Chronological Order

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Last Updated

- March 08, 2017

Quick Facts

Famous as: Composer and pianist


Birth Date:April 23, 1891

Died At Age: 61

Sun Sign: Taurus

Born in: Krasne, Ukraine

father: Sergei Alekseevich Prokofiev

mother: Maria Grigoryevna Zhitkova

Spouses/Partners: Mira Mendelson (m. 1948–1953), Lina Prokofiev (m. 1923–1941)

children: Oleg Prokofiev, Sviatoslav Prokofiev

Died on:March 5, 1953

place of death: Moscow

More Facts

education: St Petersburg Conservatory

awards: Six Stalin Prizes
Lenin Prize

Pictures of Sergei Prokofiev

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