Russian composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev was born in 1891 in Sontsovka, a small village in Ukraine. Early on, it was clear that he had musical talent. His mother, who was a very good pianist, encouraged him, and taught him to play the piano. Sergei began composing at the age of five. When he got a bit older, he and his mother moved to St. Petersburg, so that he could study music there.
After Prokofiev graduated from school, he traveled around Europe to learn more about music. World War I and the Russian Revolution made living and working in Russia very difficult, so Prokofiev left the country in 1918. Paris eventually became his home, but he also spent time in the United States and the Bavarian Alps. But the whole time he was away from Russia, Prokofiev longed for his homeland. In 1936, he made the unusual decision to move back to the Soviet Union.
Prokofiev was a master at using music to tell a story. One of his most famous musical stories is Peter and the Wolf, which was written for Russia’s Central Children’s Theatre. You may have seen it performed in school, or on the concert stage.
In addition to symphonic music, Prokofiev wrote ballets, operas, and music for films — like Lieutenant Kijé