Sergei Vasilenko

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vasilenko, Sergei Nikiforovich


Born Mar. 18 (30), 1872, in Moscow; died there on Mar. 11, 1956. Soviet composer, conductor, and teacher. People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1940) and of the Uzbek SSR (1939). Doctor of the history of the arts (1943).

Vasilenko graduated from the Moscow Conservatory (1901), where he had studied under S. I. Taneev, V. I. Safonov, and M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov. In 1906, Vasilenko began to teach. From 1907 to 1950 he was a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, where he taught orchestration. Among his students were A. V. Aleksandrov, A. N. Aleksandrov, N. S. Golovanov, L. A. Polovinkin, and D. R. Rogal’-Levitskii. He was the organizer and director of the popular Historical Concerts (1907-17) and conductor of the popular symphony concerts (1918) in Moscow. Vasilenko elaborated many themes from the musical folklore of the Soviet and non-Soviet East. He composed such striking orchestral suites as Turkmen Scenes (1931), The Soviet East (1932), Uzbek Suite (1942), and two Chinese Suites (1928, 1931). Vasilenko worked in Tashkent, where he played an important role in developing the Uzbek national musical culture. He composed (with M. Ashrafi) the first Uzbek operas, The Snowstorm (1939) (all dates given here are those of first productions) and The Great Canal (1941), and the ballet Akbiliak (1943). Among Vasilenko’s other works are the opera-cantata The Tale of the Great City of Kitezh (1903), the operas Son of the Sun (1929) and Suvorov (1942), the ballets Joseph the Handsome (1925) and The Gypsies (1937), the Arctic Symphony, the Fourth Symphony, (dedicated to the members of the crew of the ship Cheliuskin) and other symphonies, four concerti, including one for balalaika and symphony orchestra (1931), and arrangements of Russian folk songs (including several for folk instruments, for example, The Third Suite, 1934; the suite In the Village, 1943; and The Kolkhoz Suite, 1953).

Vasilenko was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and medals. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1947.


Stranitsy vospominanii. Moscow, 1948.


Polianovskii, G. Sergei Vasilenko. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In chap ter 8, she contends that Lev Knipper's Serenade for Strings (Gornata serenada) and Sergei Vasilenko's Ballet Suite "could be described as 'light classical,' but the prizes they received tell us nothing about the value of the genre, since the composers, rather than the works, were being favoured in both these cases" (p.