One hundred years ago today the man described as the world’s greatest composer of the 20th century was born in Russia. Commemorative events are taking place across the country in honour of Dmitri Shostakovich. In Moscow, the anniversary is being marked with the staging of his opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk”. Russia’s most famous conductor Mstislav Rostropovich will be leading the musicians. “This is a sort of echo of my London Shostakovich festival, where I played all 15 of his symphonies. I love his music – it’s “my thing”, I can’t live without it,” he said.
Born in St Petersburg, Shostakovich spent all his adult life under Soviet communism. But while there is no doubt as to the greatness of the composer’s music, questions have been raised over his links to communism.
Though once seen as a solid Soviet artist – his music was later interpreted as holding hidden dissident meanings. The controversy is in no way overshadowing the centenary. In Samara, where Shostakovich lived in the 1940s, a street leading from his old house to the opera will now bear his name.