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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » G » Golovanov, Nikolai Semyonovich



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Nikolai Semyonovich Golovanov (01/01/1891 - 01/01/1953)

Nikolai Golovanov’s early years were spent as a choir boy in religious institutions, notably the Moscow Synodal School where he studied choral conducting, his teachers including Orlov and Kastalsky. He qualified as a singing teacher at the school and made his conducting debut there in 1909, directing the Synodal Choir in Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. In the same year he entered the Moscow Conservatory where he studied theory and composition with Ilyinsky, Ippolitov-Ivanov and Vassilenko. At the Conservatory Golovanov met and befriended Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninov. He later said that Scriabin ‘…opened new, yet unknown worlds... and literally stunned me by the novelty in (his) harmony and peculiar features of orchestra texture,’ while of Rachmaninov he recalled that ‘…his profound dramatism excited me, and I was enchanted by his gentle, fragrant lyrics.’ He graduated in 1914, and later began work at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, making his conducting debut there in October 1915 with Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Tsar Saltan.

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