Sergei Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka, Russia, in 1891. His mother, Maria Grigoryevna Zhitkova, was his first musical influence. She taught young Sergei piano, and was a fine pianist herself. She notated his first composition, “Indian Galop,” when he was just five years old!
In 1904, at the age of 13, Prokofiev entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study piano and composition, studying with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov. He was already experimenting with unconventional composition styles, which sometimes ruffled the feathers of his teachers. In 1918, after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian Cultural Commissar allowed Prokofiev to tour the world.
He returned to Soviet Russia permanently in 1936. He wrote everything from his difficult concertos to music for young people. “Music for Children” Opus 65 is a lovely collection of intermediate short pieces with emphasis on themes of interest to children and youths. Other piano works include his 9 Sonatas, and Visions Fugitives, Opus 22. “Peter and the Wolf,” a long time children’s favorite, is an orchestral piece, but it has been transcribed for piano in several editions, the easiest of which is probably the Schaum edition, which is about a Level 3.
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