1903 - 1968

Armenian composer renowned for the exotic beauty of his themes and the rich texture of his orchestration.

He used the principles of Armenian folk idiom in his music which includes two symphonies, a piano concerto, a cello concerto, and several ballets, among them 'Gayane' with the famous 'Sabre Dance'.

Aram Ilyich Khachaturian was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, into a poor Armenian family. In 1921 he moved to Moscow. In 1936, his Piano Concerto included Georgian as well as Armenian elements. This was followed by a first ballet, "Happiness", set on a Soviet-Armenian collective farm. These large-scale works established him as a leading Soviet composer and he was showered with honours.

But in 1948 he was strongly criticised by the Composers' Congress for crimes of 'formalism'. He responded with patriotic works including Ode in memory of Lenin.

After Stalin's death in 1953, Khachaturian was active as a public figure, being among the first to press for a relaxation of the harsh musical and artistic conditions in the Soviet Union

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