To me he seemed like a trapped man, whose only wish was to be left alone, to the peace of his own art and to the tragic destiny to which he, like most of his countrymen, has been forced to resign himself.
Nikolai Nabokov on meeting with Shostakovich in 1949 in New York
Dmitri Shostakovich was a Soviet pianist, public figure, teacher, doctor of art history, People’s Artist of the USSR, one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. By the way, he was Hero of Socialist Labor, winner of the Lenin Prize, five Stalin Prizes, the USSR State Prize and the Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR. He was one of the greatest composers of the XX century, the author of 15 symphonies, 3 operas, 3 ballets, numerous works of chamber music, music for movies and theater productions.
The boy was born on September 25, 1906 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. The mother of the future composer, Sophia, was a wonderful pianist with the academic musical education. Dmitri had two sisters. Children together with parents took part in home improvised concerts.
At the age of 19 Shostakovich composed the First Symphony. It was presented at the First International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland in 1927. German conductor Bruno Walter noticed talented young man and organized the foreign premiere of the symphony in late 1927 in Berlin.