Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakow (1844–1908)

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, who is often hailed as the Conscience of Russian music of his day, was a member of the Mighty Handful in St. Petersburg along with his fellow composers Balakirev, Borodin, Cui and Mussorgsky.

Like most of his colleagues from this group, he too was not initially a profes­s­ional musician, but served in the Marine. He left the service in 1873, having been appointed professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory two years earlier. In addition to his extensive compositional activity, he also worked as a conductor and music critic, was a highly esteemed teacher (of more than 200 students) and wrote various instruction books on harmony and orchestration as well as a Chronicle Of My Musical Life. In his music, Rimsky-Korsakov makes frequent re­fer­ence to the folk music of Russia and of other cultures. One of the most outstanding traits of his music is its extraordinary colorfulness, which derives from a masterful orchestration and differentiated harmonies. Dominating his uvre are 15 operas, symphonic works and vocal music.