Alexander Borodin

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Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin[1] (12 November 1833 – 27 February 1887[2]) was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of GeorgianRussian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music.[3][4][5] He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the musical Kismet.


Life and profession

Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg, the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble, Luka Gedevanishvili (Georgian: ლუკა სიმონის ძე გედევანიშვილი) and a Russian mother, the 25 year old Evdokia Konstantinovna Antonova (Евдокия Константиновна Антонова), who had him registered instead as the son of one of his serfs, Porfiry Borodin. As a boy he received a good education, including piano lessons. He eventually earned a doctorate in medicine at the Medico–Surgical Academy, the later home to Ivan Pavlov, and pursued a career in chemistry. He began taking lessons in composition from Mily Balakirev in 1862, while a professor of chemistry at the Academy of Medicine and married Ekaterina Protopopova, a pianist, the following year.[6] Music remained a secondary vocation for Borodin outside of main career as a chemist and physician. He died suddenly during a ball from heart failure in 1887 and was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in Saint Petersburg.

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