Composer of the Week: Aram KhachaturianAram Khachaturian (pronounced Ar-ahm Catch-a-torr-ee-en) was modern period composer born in 1903. Though he was born in the Soviet-Russian state of Georgia, his family was from Armenia. During his lifetime, both nations were under the influence of the former Soviet Union. His father was a bookbinder, while his mother was from a small village. He eventually moved to Moscow, Russia to attend the Moscow Conservatory. As of 1943, he was an official member of the Communist Party, which made it easier for people in the Soviet Union to hear and experience his music (the government controlled much of which music the people heard).
Khachaturian’s music included ballets, symphonies, concertos and film scores (movie music). His largest and most famous works include the ballets Spartacus and Gayane. Of these, his most famous individual piece is entitled “Sabre Dance,” (from Gayane) which has been used throughout popular culture in the last 40 years. He also wrote solo piano music, including Toccatta in Eb minor. Additionally, several of his pieces have been reused in modern movies. Gayane’s “Adagio” was used in both Patriot Games and 2001: A Space Odyssey. A portion of Spartacus was also used in Ice Age: The Meltdown.Khachaturian was well-known amongst the Russian and Soviet people. In addition, young American composers were influenced by him. He died on May 1st, 1978, just short of his 75th birthday.
Map of Armenia, Near East, Former Soviet Republics