Iljinsky, Alexander


Also spelled Ilyinsky. Talented Russian musician; born at Tzarskoe Selo (near St. Petersburg), where his father was a physician in the Alexander Cadet Corps. Young Iljinsky early showed musical ability and began to take piano lessons at the age of seven. When he had finished his general education in the First Cadet Corps at St. Petersburg, and had done service in the Artillery from 1877 to 1879, he went to Berlin. In 1881 he was awarded a scholarship and entered the Berlin Royal Academy of Art, where he studied counterpoint, fugue, free composition and instrumental music under the direction of Professor Woldemar Bargiel. He also studied the piano under Natanael Betcher and Theodor Kullak, and attended the philosophical lectures at the University. His course at the Academy finished, in 1884, he returned to Russia, and the next year, on the advice of Carl Davidoff, violoncellist and director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, he took the examination of that institution on the Iheory of Musical Compositions, presenting a concert overture for orchestra, and a cantata, Strecoza, which brought him a "free artist" diploma, the highest degree given. In 1885 Iljinsky removed to Moscow, where he became teacher of piano, theory and history in the Musical and Dramatic School of the Philharmonic Society, where, after receiving the title of ordinary professor of the theory of the history of music, in 1896, he became leading profesor of theory and composition, in 1897, still keeping his classes in the history of music. In 1899 Iljinsky resigned his place in the piano department of the Philharmonic School and started a class of his own, and in 1905 he severed his connections entirely and opened his Theoretical and Practical Courses of Music. Since the autumn of 1905 he has also held the position of professor of counterpoint and composition at the Imperial Conservatory of Moscow.

Iljinsky's principal works are a Concert Overture; Overture to Count Tolstoi's tragedy, Tsar Feodor; Music to Socrates' tragedies, CEdipus Rex, and Philocetes; the opera, The Fountain of Bachtchisaraj, in four acts, libretto by Pushkin; the one-act ballet, Noor and Anitra; the cantatas, Strecoza, and Rusalka, for female chorus and orchestra; a symphony; symphonic scherzo, Red Dances; symphonic movement, Psyche; three suites; also a string quartet; and other music for violin, cello and piano. He has also written the church works, Pray to the Father; Pater Noster; Te Deum; Laudamus; Imitation prelude; and a fugue. In 1904 there appeared a very extensive work, Biographies of all Composers from the Fourth to the Twentieth Century, edited by Iljinsky.