Dmitri Shostakovich Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich listen (helpÂ·info) (September 25 1906-August 9, 1975) was a Russian composer of the Soviet period. He had a complex relationship with the Soviet government, suffering two official denunciations of his music in 1936 and 1948 and the periodic banning of his work. At the same time, he remained the most popular Soviet composer of his generation and received a number of accolades and state awards, and served in the Supreme Soviet.
After an initial avant-garde period, Shostakovich wrote primarily in the romantic idiom, drawing heavily on the influence of Mahler. However, he combined this with atonality and on occasion tone rows. His music frequently includes sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque. His greatest works are generally considered to be his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, fifteen of each; other works include operas, six concertos and a substantial quantity of film music. Laurel Fay concludes in Grove that;
"Amid the conflicting pressures of official requirements, the mass suffering of his fellow countrymen, and his personal ideals of humanitarian and public service, he succeeded in forging a musical language of colossal emotional power."