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Sergei Prokofiev: The Genius In Stalin's Shadow

Sergei Prokofiev died 60 years ago -- on March 5, 1953 -- but the famous Russian composer’s passing received little attention in the Soviet Union. It was overshadowed by the death of dictator Josef Stalin, announced on the same day. Prokofiev’s funeral was attended by only a handful of friends and relatives who carried no flowers, as they had all been bought by Stalin’s mourners. But if his death went unacknowledged, Prokofiev's legacy did not. He continues to be regarded as one of the great composers of the 20th century, whose modernist works continue to provoke and surprise. (13 PHOTOS)

Sergei Prokofiev, pictured here at age 2 with his parents, was born on April 23, 1891, in the Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine.
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Sergei Prokofiev, pictured here at age 2 with his parents, was born on April 23, 1891, in the Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine.

The 11-year-old Prokofiev, already an accomplished composer, plays forte piano in 1902. He had written his first piano work at age 5 and his first opera at age 9.
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The 11-year-old Prokofiev, already an accomplished composer, plays forte piano in 1902. He had written his first piano work at age 5 and his first opera at age 9.

Prokofiev in 1910. Even in his early work, while attending the music conservatory in St. Petersburg, he experimented with dissonant, modernist compositions.
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Prokofiev in 1910. Even in his early work, while attending the music conservatory in St. Petersburg, he experimented with dissonant, modernist compositions.

After the Russian Revolution, Prokofiev saw little opportunity for his experimental music in Russia and resettled first in San Francisco, then a few years later in Paris. In the United States he wrote the opera "The Love for Three Oranges," which premiered in 1921.
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After the Russian Revolution, Prokofiev saw little opportunity for his experimental music in Russia and resettled first in San Francisco, then a few years later in Paris. In the United States he wrote the opera "The Love for Three Oranges," which premiered in 1921.

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