Vissarion Yakovlevich Shebalin (Russian: Виссарион Яковлевич Шебалин, June 11, 1902, Omsk–May 29, 1963) was a Soviet composer.
His parents were school teachers. He studied in the musical college in Omsk. He was 20 years old when following the advice of his professor went to MoscowGlière and Myaskovsky. Both composers thought very highly of his compositions. Shebalin graduated from Moscow Conservatory in 1928. His diploma work was the 1st Symphony which the author dedicated to his professor Nikolai Myaskovsky. Many years later his fifth and last symphony was dedicated to Myaskovsky's memory.
In the 1920s Shebalin was a member of the ACM - Association for Contemporary Music; he was a participant of the informal circle of Moscow musicians — “Lamm’s group”, who gathered in the apartment of Pavel Lamm, a professor from the Moscow Conservatory.
Shebalin was a close friend of Dmitri Shostakovich, who dedicated a string quartet (No. 2) to Shebalin.
After graduating from Moscow Conservatory, he worked there as a professor, and in 1935 became also a head of the composition class in Gnessin State Musical College. In the very difficult years of 1942-1948 he was a director of the Moscow Conservatory and the art director of the Central Musical School in Moscow.
He fell victim to the Zhdanov purge of artists in 1948 and fell into obscurity afterwards. Among his students were L. Auster, Edison Denisov, Grigory Frid, Tikhon Khrennikov, Karen Khachaturian, Aleksandra Pakhmutova, and others. Shebalin was one of the founders of and the chairman of the board (1941-1942) of the Moscow Union of Composers.
Shebalin was one of the most cultured and erudite composers of his generation; his serious intellectual style and a certain academic approach to composition make him close to Myaskovsky. In 1951, he was awarded the Stalin Prize.
In 1953, Shebalin suffered a stroke which followed by another stroke in 1959 impaired most of his language capabilities. Despite that, just a few months before his death from a third stroke in 1963, he completed his fifth symphony, described by Dmitri Shostakovich as "a brilliant creative work, filled with highest emotions, optimistic and full of life."
Shebalin died on May 29, 1963. He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery near his professors and colleagues.
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