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Igor Markevitch

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Igor Markevitch (Ukrainian: Ігор Маркевич) (August 9, 1912 – March 7, 1983) was a Ukrainian, Italian, and French composer and conductor.

Biography
Born in Kiev, son of the pianist Boris Markevitch and Zoya Pokitonov, Markevitch moved with his family to Paris in 1914 and Switzerland in 1916. Alfred Cortot discovered his musical ability and took him to Paris in 1926 for training as a composer and pianist at the Ecole Normale , where he studied under Cortot and Nadia Boulanger. He gained recognition in 1929 when he was discovered by Serge Diaghilev, who commissioned a Piano Concerto from Markevitch and desired him to collaborate on a ballet with Boris Kochno. In a letter to the London Times Diaghilev hailed Markevitch as the man who would put an end to ‘a scandalous period of music … of cynical-sentimental simplicity’.[1] The ballet project came to an end with Diaghilev’s death on 19 August 1929, but Markevitch’s works were accepted by the publisher Schott and he continued to produce at least one major work per year during the 1930s, being rated among the leading contemporary composers. He started being hailed as “the second Igor” — the first Igor being Igor Stravinsky.

Markevitch collaborated on a ballet, Rébus with Leonid Massine (1931) and another, L’envol d’Icare (1932) with Serge Lifar; neither was staged, though both scores were performed as concert works. L’envol d’Icare, based on the legend of the fall of Icarus, which Markevitch himself recorded in 1938 with the Belgian National Orchestra, was especially radical, introducing quarter-tones in both woodwind and strings.

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