Arthur Lourié

Born: 1891, Propoisk (Mohilev Province)
Died: 1966, Princeton (New Jersey)

Composer, musical critic. Born Naum Lourié in the village of Propoisk (now Slavgorod) in the family of Jewish engineer Israel Lourié and Anna Levitina (1891). Studied under Alexander Glazunov at the St Petersburg Conservatoire (1909–13). Wrote the Futurist manifesto We and the West with Benedikt Livshits and Georgy Yakulov in opposition to the visit to St Petersburg of Italian Futurist leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1914). Composed Deux poèmes (1912) and Formes en l’air (1915), which he dedicated to Pablo Picasso. Published the theoretical article Concerning the Music of Higher Chromatism in the first Sagittarius journal (1915) and designed a revolutionary new piano with an updated keyboard. Wrote music to Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Our March and the poetry of Anna Akhmatova (1914, 1919). Appointed commissar of music (1918) and head of music at Narkompros in Petrograd (1919–22). Decided to remain in Europe while on an official trip to Berlin (1922) and settled in Paris (1922), where he befriended Jacques Maritain and Raïssa Oumançoff (1923) and wrote the opera-ballet A Feast in Time of Plague (1935). Married Countess Elizaveta Belevskya-Zhukovskya, granddaughter of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich and great-granddaughter of Vasily Zhukovsky (1939). Forced to emigrate to the United States after the Nazi occupation of France (1940). Moved to New York (1941), where he wrote the opera The Blackamoor of Peter the Great (1949–61). Died in Princeton and buried behind St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church at 214 Nassau Street (1966).

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