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Boris Alexandrovich Alexandrov
Boris A. Alexandrov
Boris A. Alexandrov
Born (1905-08-04)August 4, 1905
Bologoye, Russian Empire
Died June 17, 1994(1994-06-17) (aged 88)
Moscow, Russian Federation
Place of burial Novodevichy Cemetery
Known for Leader of the Alexandrov Ensemble
Parents Alexander V. Alexandrov
Awards Order of LeninOrder of LeninOrder of LeninOrder of the Red Banner of LabourOrder of the October RevolutionOrder of the Patriotic War, First Class
Stalin prizeLenin PrizeFile:Hero of Socialist Labor

Major General Boris Alexandrovich Alexandrov (Russian: Борис Александрович Александров, August 4, 1905 Bologoye – June 17, 1994 Moscow) was a Soviet Russian composer, and, from 1946 to 1986, the second head of the Alexandrov Ensemble which was founded by his father, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov. Alexandrov reached the rank of Major-General and was awarded the order of Hero of Socialist Labour, the Lenin Prize and the State Prize of the USSR, and named People's Artist of the USSR.[1] Alexandrov is also the composer of the Anthem of Transnistria.


Early years

He began his musical career, aged 13, as a viola player and in the children's choir at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, performing alongside singers such as Feodor Chaliapin. Chaliapin was a great showman, as can be heard in his recording of Dark Eyes ,[2] and Boris would later carry the same attitude into his choral arrangements for the Ensemble. From 1923 to 1929 he attended the Moscow Conservatory, taught by RM Glier. He grew up among leading performers, and later collaborated with the leading Soviet composers and poets. From 1929 to 1937 he ran the music department of the newly established Central Theatre of the Red Army and from 1933 to 1941 was associate professor of Moscow Conservatory. He was also a composer, writing in various genres of symphonic and chamber instrumental music .[3]

In 1937, he became the deputy artistic director of the Alexandrov Ensemble and some of his best compositions date from this era. As a conductor, Boris Alexandrov apparently worked from two principles: interpreting a composer's work correctly, and making sure that a mass audience would appreciate it .[4]

World War II

During World War II, Boris Alexandrov, with his father, led the ensemble in All-Union radio concerts and over 1500 [5] concerts at the Front, officially to actively promote Russian folk music and the songs of Soviet composers and folk music for the sake of patriotism and morale. During this time, Boris shouldered increasing responsibility, due to his father's heart condition. After Alexandrov's death in 1946, Boris Alexandrov, his son, went on to succeed his father as musical director for the ensemble [6] [7] .[8]

Leadership of the Ensemble

Boris Alexandrov was a composer, arranger, conductor, music critic, artist and teacher: an important 20th century figure in Russian military music. He saw to the training and promotion of many fine soloists. After World War II, the ensemble, led by Boris Alexandrov, travelled abroad sixty-eight times and was well received in many countries throughout Europe.[9] He carried on the central idea which drove his father: that the choir was central to the ensemble, and that without the choir there would be no ensemble .[10]

Close of a long career

File:Novodevcemetery winter02.jpg

Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, where great men and women are buried - including Boris Alexandrov.

In 1985, his 80th birthday was publicly celebrated. Alexandrov finally retired in 1987. He was succeeded by Igor Agafonnikov the same year,[11] with Anatoly Maltsev as the ensemble chief. He retired as the principal conductor in 1994; he died that year and was buried in Moscow at the Novodevichy Cemetery.[12] He was succeeded by Victor Fedorov, the chorus master since 1986.


Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, where Boris Alexandrov began to learn his trade, performing alongside great performers such as Chaliapin.

The ensemble under Boris Alexandrov worked with the best musicians. The choir worked with People's Artist of Russia, laureate of Stalin Prize KP Vinogradov; People's Artist of the USSR Y. Petrov the Principal Chorus Master; VG Sokolov (later People's Artist of the USSR and Professor of the Moscow Conservatory); BI Kulikov (later Rector of the Moscow Conservatory); ES Tytyanko (People's Artist of the USSR); and VV Samsonenko, AP Kulygin and VI Chusei, all Honoured Artist of Russia. Dancers worked with People's Artist of the USSR PP Virsky, soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre, Honored Art Worker AI Radunsky and Honoured Artist of Russia KG Farmanyants and People's Artist of the USSR U.P. Khmelnitski. The orchestra worked with VA Aleksandrov, VV Samsonenko both Honoured Artist of Russia, and People's Artist of Russia VA Korobko .[13]

Compositions and arrangements

He added over 150 new works to the repertoire, including works of composers local to the countries visited by the ensemble. He worked with living Soviet composers, enriching both works and performance. He wrote symphonic, chamber, instrumental, vocal-symphonic and theatrical music, and specialized in military music. He wrote a national anthem for which he received an award from the Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union, and for which he was known by contemporaries as "the soldier-patriot". In 1937 he wrote the operetta Wedding in Malinovka which contained patriotic themes: revolutionaries, soldiers, peasants and folk music. Other operettas include The Girl from Barcelona (1942) about Russian partisans and a female Spanish co-combatant; My Gyuzel (1946), Near You (1949) and The One Hundred and First Wife (1957). Ballets include Young Friendship and Southpaw (1955). He also wrote cantatas including Cantata of the Party (1955), the oratorio October Soldier Defending the World (1967), Book of the Motherland (1979), plus the suite Guarding (1981) .[14] Alexandrov composed the song "Long Live our State" (Да здравствует наша держава) to be the anthem of the Soviet Union. It was rejected however, but the 1943 composition (with different lyrics) became the national anthem of Transnistria in the 1990s. The song was used in parades in the Soviet Union and continues to be used at the end of Victory Day parades in Moscow today, adapted as a military march. Another march composed by him is "March of Joint Armies".


Photographs and films of Alexandrovich show him wearing a large number of medals. Besides those mentioned above, he had a Labour medal (1939) for helping to form the Ensemble; Honorary Artist of Russia (1944); rank of Lieutenant Colonel (1946); People's Artist of Russia (1948); rank of Colonel (1948); Order of Lenin (1949); for concert performances the Stalin Prize, First Class (1950); People's Artist of the USSR (1958); rank of Major General (1973); for outstanding contribution to the development of culture and art Hero of Socialist Labour (1975); Lenin Prize (1978); Order of the October Revolution (1985) .[15] In all, he received the Order of Lenin three times and also the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of the Patriotic War, First Class and a Stalin prize.

For the oratorio October Soldier Defending the World and the poem Lenin Immortal, in 1971 a special award was set up by the Ministry of Culture of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Composers and the main political management of the Soviet Armed Forces: the Gold Medal of Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov was to be awarded annually to subsequent Soviet composers for composition of military-patriotic music .[16] This medal would become a Russian military and civil decoration by the Russian Ministry of Defence in 2005, on the occasion of his centennial year of birth (with the addition of a special commemorative medal in honor of this occasion), awarded to all Russians who contribute to the growth and progress of Russian military music, its history and the important cultural legacy it has to the nation and the world.

See also


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