Ludwig Minkus

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Minkus, Ludwig


(actually Aloisius Ludwig Minkus; also Leon Minkus). Born Mar. 23, 1826, in Vienna; died there 1907. Violinist and composer. Of Czech descent (of Polish descent according to some sources).

Minkus lived in Russia from the early 1850’s to the late 1880’s. From 1853 to 1855 he served as conductor of N. B. lusupov’s serf orchestra in St. Petersburg. Between 1861 and 1872 he was a soloist with the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. From 1866 to 1872 he taught at the Moscow Conservatory, and from 1872 to 1886 he worked as a composer of ballet music for the Theater Management in St. Petersburg. Beginning in 1890 he lived in Vienna.

Minkus’ first success was the ballet La Source (1866), composed jointly with L. Delibes. In 1869 the Moscow Bolshoi Theater staged Minkus’ ballet Don Quixote, which is still performed. The choreography and scenario were by M. I. Petipa, for whom Minkus in subsequent years composed 16 ballets. Minkus’ music is melodious and noted for its precise dance rhythms. Among his other ballets are Paquita (1846, with E. Deldevez), La Fiammetta (1874), La Bayadére (1877), and Daughter of the Snows (1879). He also composed for violin.


Krasovskaia, V. Russkii baletnyi teatr vtoroi poloviny XIX veka. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"Don Quixote" was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. Essentially, it is a ballet which is full of vibrant Spanish influences and sensational movement.
I'm not the least bit embarrassed to say I think Ludwig Minkus is a highly effective dance composer.
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Music: Ludwig Minkus) has never found a place in British ballet's repertory and hearts.
Among the highlights were German company Semperoper Ballet's revisionist take on Marius Petipa's "La Bayadere" with an exotic, elaborate set, dazzling customs, a well-delineated narrative and a sped-up score of Ludwig Minkus.
Performed to excerpts from Ludwig Minkus' 1869 ballet score, as part of National Dance Company Wales' autumn tour triple bill, Quixoteland's characters live lives that could only exist through following Don Quixote's dreamy and often impulsive ways.