Aram Khatchaturian conducting at the Vienna Musikverein in 1961
110 years ago, on 6 June 1903, Aram Khatchaturian was born in Tiflis. The bookmaker’s son started to play the tenor horn as a youth, taught himself how to play the piano, and was admitted to the Gnessin State Musical College in 1922, where he studied Cello. Seven years later he was accepted at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1933 he married Nina Makarowa, a composer and fellow student. After receiving his diploma in 1934 for his Symphony No. 1, he stayed at the Conservatory for three more years as a postgraduate, establishing himself as a composer. In the 1940s he wrote his ballet Gajane, the Symphony No. 2 and the Concerto in D minor for violin and orchestra. He started to successfully conduct his own works and to teach at the Gnessin-Institute in 1951; five years later, he finished Spartacus, his most famous ballet.
Universal Edition recently published Khatchaturian’s Adagio and Bacchanal from Spartacus in the arrangement for violin and piano by Matthias Fletzberger and Lidia Baich, which creates a colourful and diverse sound image and makes sure that both instruments are equal partners in a musical exchange.