Churkin, Nikolai Nikolaevich
Born May 9 (21), 1869, in the village of Dzhalal-Ogly (present-day Stepanavan, Armenian SSR); died Dec. 27, 1964, in Minsk. Soviet composer and folklorist. People’s Artist of the Byelorussian SSR (1949).
Churkin graduated from M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov’s composition class at the Tbilisi Music School in 1892. He worked as a music teacher from 1892 to 1914 in Baku, Kaunas, and Vilnius. He moved to Byelorussia in 1914 and lived in Minsk from 1935. Churkin collected musical folklore, including more than 3,000 examples of Byelorussian folk music and dances, many of which were published in collections in 1910, 1949, and 1959. Churkin was the first to attempt a Soviet Byelorussian opera, The Liberation of Labor (1922), and he originated national genre symphonic music, for example, Byelorussian Pictures (1925). His other works include the children’s radio opera The Mitten (1940) and the musical comedy Song of Berezina (1947). He also wrote works for symphony orchestra, wind orchestra, folk-instrument orchestra, and instrumental chamber ensemble (including 11 quartets), as well as choral works and songs set to the words of Soviet poets.
Churkin was awarded three orders and several medals.