Born and raised in Tbilisi, Khachaturian moved to Moscow in 1921 and enrolled in the Gnesin Musical Institute to study the cello. In 1925, he joined a newly established composition class led by Mikhail Fabianovich Gnesin. Aram continued his studies in composition with Nikolai Myaskovsky in 1929 at the Moscow Conservatory, also taking orchestration lessons from Reinhold Glière. In 1933, Aram Khatchaturian married the composer Nina Makarova, a fellow student from Myaskovsky's class. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1934 and received his Ph.D. degree two years later.
Khatchaturian gained recognition and fame for one of the first major compositions, the Piano Concerto (1936). Other significant works include the Masquerade Suite (1941), Violin Concerto (1940) and Cello Concerto (1946), the Anthem of the Armenian SSR (1944), ballets Gayane (1942) and Spartacus (1954), three symphonies composed from 1935 to 1947, and over twenty film scores. His best-known piece, the 'Sabre Dance' from Gayane, has been covered by numerous musicians and used extensively in popular culture.
During most of his career, Khachaturian was approved by the Soviet government and held several high posts in the Union of Soviet Composers, even though he only joined the Communist Party in 1943. Five years later, Aram was named as one of the leading figures of the "fundamentally incorrect" formalist direction in music alongside with Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Vissarion Shebalin and Myaskovsky. Their music was denounced as "anti-national." Khachaturian made public apology for his "artistic errors" and was sent away to Armenia as a punishment. The decision to ban the composer was purely ideological and political, so without him changing anything about the musical style, Aram was rehabilitated soon after, when a documentary film Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1949) was released with music composed by Khachaturian.
In 1950, Aram Khachaturian began performing as a conductor and started teaching composition at the Gnessin Institute and Moscow Conservatory. Some of his notable students include Aziz al-Shawan, Andrei Eshpai, Anatol Vieru, Edgar Oganesyan, Mikael Tariverdiev, Mark Minkov, Alexey Rybnikov, Tolib Shakhidi, Georgs Pelēcis, Rostislav Boiko, Nodar Gabunia, Edward Khagagortyan, Vladimir Dashkevich, Kirill Volkov, Viktor Ekimovsky, and Igor Yakushenko.
Name variations: Aram Il'yich Khachaturian, Aram Illich Khachaturian, Aram Xačatryan, Արամ Խաչատրյան, Арам Ильич Хачатурян, Арам Хачатрян
Aram Khatchaturian Discography
- 1 Vocals
- 3 Instruments & Performance
- 1200 Writing & Arrangement
- 73 Conducting & Leading
- 6 Acting, Literary & Spoken