Mikhail Glinka: The First Russian Composer To Gain Wide Recognition Within His Own Country

June 1804 – February 1857

Glinka was born near Moscow where his father, a wealthy landowner, had retired as an army captain. As all young nobles of his time, he learned the violin, piano, and took a few singing lessons. As a young man, he spent time in Italy and Germany but always felt his mission in life was to return to Russia, and write in a Russian manner. His second opera was Russlan and Ludmilla. The plot was based on the tale by Alexander Pushkin. His great achievement in this opera lies in his use of folk melody. Much of the borrowed folk material is Eastern in origin.

Fun Fact: As a small child, Mikhail was reared by his over-protective and pampering paternal grandmother, who fed him sweets, wrapped him in furs, and confined him to her room, which was always to be kept at 77 °F; accordingly, he developed a sickly disposition, later in his life retaining the services of numerous physicians, and often falling victim to a number of quacks.