Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935)
Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov was educated at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory where he studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov. Unusually, his primary instrument was not the piano but the double bass. In the 1880’s he moved to Tbilisi, Georgia, where he conducted the opera and headed the local brunch of the Russian Music Society. In 1893 Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor of the Moscow Conservatory, where he remained until his death in 1935. He conducted opera at the Bolshoi and the Zimin’s Theaters. Under his baton were premiered Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas Tsar’s Bride, The Tale of Tsar Saltan and Kashchey the Immortal. Ippolitov-Ivanov remained in Russia after the revolution. His compositional output consists of several operas (none of which remained in the repertoire), chamber and liturgical compositions. His late works, particularly the opera The Last Barricade (1933), are social-realist compositions.
While Ippolitov-Ivanov was a rather conservative composer who remained faithful to the tradition of the Mighty Five and Tchaikovsky, his works demonstrate strongly eclectic taste. Throughout his composition Ippolitov-Ivanov often borrows from Georgian, Uzbek, Kazakh, Turkmen, Turkish and Arabic music.