Shaporin, Iurii Aleksandrovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shaporin, Iurii Aleksandrovich


Born Oct. 27 (Nov. 8), 1887, in the city of Glukhov, in what is now Sumy Oblast; died Dec. 9, 1966, in Moscow. Soviet composer, teacher, and figure in the music world. People’s Artist of the USSR (1954).

The son of an artist, Shaporin graduated from the faculty of law at the University of St. Petersburg in 1913. In 1918 he graduated from the Petrograd Conservatory, where he had studied composition with N. A. Sokolov, orchestration with M. O. Shteinberg, and score reading with N. N. Cherepnin. An important influence on Shaporin was his meetings with A. A. Blok, to whose poetry he often turned in his own works. From 1919 to 1934, Shaporin was a music director and composer at various theaters in Leningrad.

In 1936, Shaporin took up residence in Moscow. In 1939 he began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was made a professor the following year; among his students were G. A. Zhubanova, E. F. Svetlanov, A. G. Fliarkovskii, R. K. Shchedrin, and R. M. Iakhin. Shaporin became secretary of the Composers’ Union of the USSR in 1952.

In his finest compositions, Shaporin further developed the tradition of the Russian musical classics. Important historical events of the past and present are reflected in his large-scale works, which are notable for their epic scope; these include the opera The Decembrists (1953), the symphony-cantata The Field of Kulikovo (1939; libretto by Blok, with additions by M. L. Lozinskii; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), and the oratorios Tale of the Battle for the Russian Land (1944, words by various authors; State Prize of the USSR, 1946) and While the Bird of Prey Circles (1963). These works, imbued with a lofty patriotic ardor, are characterized by the use of a broad musical canvas and a realistic interpretation of literary source material. The images and themes of Shaporin’s sole symphony (1932) are associated with revolutionary events. The suite The Flea (1926) is based on music composed for a dramatic version of N. S. Leskov’s novella The Lefthanded Smith and the Steel Flea.

Shaporin, a master of vocal music, continued the tradition of the art song established by P. I. Tchaikovsky, S. I. Taneev, and S. V. Rachmaninoff in his song cycles set to the poetry of such writers as A. S. Pushkin (1937), Blok (Distant Youth, 1939), and F. I. Tiutchev (The Heart’s Memory, 1958). Particularly well known are such art songs as “The Incantation,” “Under the Blue Sky,” “Autumn Holiday,” and “At Evening the War Became Silent” and his adaptations of the folksongs “Nothing Is Fluttering in the Field” and “The Barge Haulers’ Song” (State Prize of the USSR, 1952). In addition to ballads for voice and orchestra set to words by I. A. Bunin, Blok, M. V. Isakovskii, and K. M. Simonov, Shaporin composed choral works, two piano sonatas, and incidental music for theater and motion pictures. He also wrote articles on music. Shaporin was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.


Grosheva, E. lurii Shaporin. Moscow, 1957.
Levit, S. Iu. A. Shaporin. Moscow, 1964.
Martynov, I. Iu. Shaporin. Moscow, 1966.


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