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December 30, 1904 – February 14, 1987
Born in Russia
Dmitri Kabalevsky was born in St. Petersburg, which was then the capital of Russia. He started playing the piano by ear when he was six. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution, the family moved to Moscow, where Dmitri finally started studying music — including composition.
Kabalevsky lived in a difficult time and place for a composer. In the Soviet Union, the government told artists — painters, writers, composers, you name it — exactly what they were expected to create, and how it should look or sound. Kabalevsky managed to make the authorities happy as he continued to compose.
Kabalevsky wrote a lot of piano music, including pieces for children. He really enjoyed writing for children. Other Kabalevsky compositions include songs for children’s chorus, and a set of songs for solo voice based on some wonderful Russian translations of Mother Goose rhymes. Of course, Kabalevsky also wrote plenty of adult pieces, including symphonies, concertos, and music for the theater.