Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a prominent Russian composer, conductor, and pedagogue, a member of the Russian Mighty Five. He contributed to the formation of a Russian national music in the nineteenth century.
Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov was born on March 6, 1844 in the town of Tikhvin near Novgorod. His father had served prominently in the provincial government. At the age of 12 the boy entered the St. Petersburg Naval Academy. There he took violoncello lessons and piano lessons from Feodor Kanille. The teacher encouraged his efforts at composition. In 1861 Kanille introduced the young cadet to the Balakirev Circle, a circle of talented dilettantes. Later its prominent members – Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Aleksandr Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Cesar Cui, became known as Mighty Handful or Mighty Five.