Aleksandr Vasilevich Aleksandrov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Vasil’evich


Born Apr. 1 (Apr. 13), 1883, in the village of Plakhino, Riazan’ Province; died July 8, 1946, in Berlin. Soviet Russian composer and choral director. Became People’s Artist of the USSR in 1937; major-general in 1943; doctor of art history in 1940. Member of the CPSU from 1939.

During 1900–02, Aleksandrov studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under A. K. Liadov and A. K. Glazunov; during 1909–13 he was at the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied composition under S. N. Va-silenko and singing under U. A. Mazetti. In 1918 he was appointed an instructor at the Moscow Conservatory, where he became a professor in 1922 and head of the choral department in 1925. During 1929–36 he was assistant dean of the conducting faculty of the armed forces. In 1928 he organized and became director of the Order of the Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army (now called the A. V. Aleksandrov Ensemble), which has received acclaim both in the USSR and abroad. The collective has become a model for numerous other song and dance ensembles.

The majority of Aleksandrov’s compositions (songs and musical arrangements) were related to his work in the ensemble; they deal with Soviet military and patriotic themes and the history of the Red Army—for example, “In Echelon Formation” and “Bombard the Planes from the Sky.” Alexandrov’s songs are distinguished by melodiousness and epic breadth; they have the sonority characteristic of hymns and continue the traditions of Russian classical music—for instance, his celebration toasts derived from Glinka’s opera Ivan Susanin. He wrote the song “Holy War” (based on lyrics by B. I. Lebedev-Kumach, 1941), which became a musical emblem of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. In 1943, Aleksandrov composed the music for the anthem of the Soviet Union. In 1942 he received his first State Prize of the USSR for the outstanding quality of his popular songs and was awarded a second in 1946 for his concert work. Aleksandrov was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.


Polianovskii. G. A. V. Aleksandrov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Shilov, A. A. V. Aleksandrov. Moscow, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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