Lev Konstantinovich Knipper
Knipper, Lev Konstantinovich
Born Nov. 21 (Dec. 3), 1898, in Tbilisi; died July 30, 1974, in Moscow. Soviet composer. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1968) and of the Buriat ASSR (1958).
Knipper studied piano under E. F. Gnesina and composition under D. L. Rogal’-Levitskii, R. M. Glière, and N. S. Zhiliaev. In 1923 he became a member of the Association of Contemporary Music. He wrote songs, engaged in educational work, and organized amateur groups among Red Army units. In 1932, Knipper became an instructor of mass army songs in various units of the Special Far Eastern army. His works include operas (for example, North Wind, 1930), ballets, cantatas, orchestral concerti, music for string quartets, and 18 symphonies (1929–71). His fourth symphony, Poem of the Komsomol Fighter (with choir; lyrics by V. I. Gusev, 1934), includes the song “Poliush-ko-pole,” which has become world famous (2nd version, 1964).
Since the mid-1930’s, Knipper’s work has been marked by a striving for the simplification and clarification of musical language and for the combination of symphonic and vocal elements. Some of his works are based on the development of melodies of the peoples of the Soviet East. He has written down nearly 150 Tadzhik folk songs and nearly 80 Buriat melodies. From 1933, Knipper performed as a conductor. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1946 and 1949, he was also awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor and various medals.