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Music Encyclopedia

Mili Alexeyevich Balakirev ( 1837 - 1910 )

A Russian composer, conductor and pianist. Mili was born in Nizhni-Novgorod.

His musical training was influenced greatly by his mother and eventually he studied under Karl Eisrich and Alexander von Oulibichev.
Early in his music career he was considered an average pupil and even at times somewhat average as a pianist.

Mili was an avid follower of Glinka. He had a vision to revive the Russian nationalist music. Mili moved to St Petersburg, where he became Glinkas most committed follower.
A few years afterwards Glinka left for Berlin and Balakirev assumed leadership of Glinkas group of youthful musicians.
The groups interests were truth and realism in music , and the exploitation of the national folklore, somewhat contradictory.

Later a friendship between Mili and Cesar Cui ensued and three others joined their group over the years. They were Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin and the five formed The New Russian School of Music, or the "Mighty Band" as they were often referred to.

It is during this time Balakirev did less as a pianist but become productive as a composer.
He composed several symphonies -On Three Russian Themes, Russia,In Bohemia and King Lear
His most famous and creative composition was the piano song Islamey

He was prone to superstition and bigotry later in his life and his writting subsided and stagnated, although from 1883-1894 he was involved as Director of the Imperial Choir School.
His last years were lonely ones, as he never did regain the status he once possessed