May 21, (or June 1) 1804
February 3, (or February 15) 1857 in Berlin, Germany
Also known as:
His full name was Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka; known as the founding father of the Russian nationalist school.
Type of Compositions:
Glinka wrote orchestral pieces and operas in the Russian nationalist style.
Glinka's early exposure to Russian music may have been from his grandmother whom he lived with when he was young. His interest in music was further influenced when, at age 11, he heard the performance of his uncle's private orchestra. His exposure to Western music came about in his teens when he entered the Chief Pedagogic Institute at St. Petersburg. There he studied the violin and took piano lessons with composer John Field. Afterward, he became a civil servant at the Ministry of Communications and started composing during the 1820s. In Berlin, he studied composition and counterpoint with Siegfried Dehn.
His works include "Ivan Susanin" (A Life for the Tsar), "Ruslan and Lyudmila," "Jota aragonesa," "Summer Night in Madrid," "Festival Polonaise," "Zapiski" and "Kamarinskaya."
Glinka traveled to Italy in the early 1830s where he became interested in operas, especially the works of Bellini and Donizetti. Glinka's return to Russia was prompted by his father's demise but he would once again leave in 1844. He also traveled to Paris and Spain. Glinka's works influenced the works of Balakirev, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Listen to the overture of Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila" courtesy of YouTube.