Skip to main content
What's on


Sergei Prokofiev


Prokofiev was born in 1891 in Ukraine and is considered one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.

He showed precocious talent as a pianist and composer and had lessons from Glier in 1902. In 1904 he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where Rimsky-Korsakov, Lyadov and Tcherepnin were among his teachers. He made his d├ębut as a pianist in 1908, quickly creating a sensation as an enfant terrible, unintelligible and ultra-modern – an image he was happy to cultivate. In 1914 he travelled to London, where he heard Stravinsky’s works and gained a commission from Diaghilev. The resulting score was, however, rejected (the music was used to make the Scythian Suite); a second attempt, Chout, was not staged until 1921.

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet was commissioned for the Bolshoi, but had its premiere in Czechoslovakia 1938, and only later became a staple of Soviet repertory following its Russian premiere at the Kirov in Leningrad in 1940. He also worked on a new full-length ballet, Cinderella. In 1946 he retired to the country suffering from ill health and though he went on composing, the works of his last years have been regarded as a quier coda to his output. He died on 5 March 1953.