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Anatoly Lyadov

Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov's personality was a meeting of two opposites: talent and laziness. The Russian composer, born in 1855, came from a family of musicians: his grandfather, father and uncle were all conductors. Lyadov was accepted to the St Petersburg Conservatoire in 1870, where, in addition to his piano and violin lessons, he studied composition with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. However, the promising student was soon expelled due to his absences, and only with special permission from the composers of The Mighty Five, who were impressed by Lyadov's talent, was he allowed to complete his studies. The same year he began teaching at the institution, and composers such as Boris Asafyev and Sergei Prokofiev were his pupils. Lyadov's oeuvre is very modest due to his many unfinished compositions. His most famous failed project is The Firebird, which was commissioned from him by Sergei Diaghilev, director of the Russian Ballet in Paris, but was eventually written by Stravinsky. He has tended to compose shorter pieces or series. His piano works remain the best known, but in recent years his symphonic output (amongst them his most famous symphonic poem, The Enchanted Lake) has been attracting increasing attention. As an ethnomusicologist, Lyadov published more than 120 folk songs until his death in 1914.