Chugayev, Aleksandr Georgiyevich
- Svetlana Savenko
(b Yeysk, Krasnodar district, Jan 29, 1924; d Moscow, March 22, 1990). Russian composer, musicologist and teacher. In 1940 he enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory in Shebalin's class and in 1941 joined the volunteer corps, but was soon discharged on health grounds. In 1943 he returned to the conservatory, studying with Shostakovich (1946–8), and graduating from Shaporin’s class in 1953. In 1947 he began teaching at the Gnesin Academy of Music, and in 1952 at the Gnesin State Institute for Musical Education, from 1967 as senior lecturer. In 1979 he became a senior lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory.
Chugayev’s creative interests became apparent even during his years of study at the conservatory. For many years his idol was Shostakovich, whose traditions he developed in his own works. He also acknowledged J.S. Bach as a source of inspiration, in particular his polyphonic art; it was to this that Chugayev devoted his chief musicological studies. However, Chugayev did not try to recreate the style of Bach, even to the degree that Shostakovich did: the neo-Baroque remained alien to him. Far more important to Chugayev was the continuation of the Russian polyphonic tradition, brought to fruition above all in the creative work of Sergey Taneyev and the composers of his school. Chugayev's music relies on the classical principles of tonality and is characterized by its strong melodies, thematic richness and the well developed use of polyphonic devices. Like that of many Soviet composers of his generation, it is traditional in its approach to form and genre. His works were rarely performed, and this may possibly account for his small output. The Violin Concerto and the two chamber works with piano – the trio and quintet – are considered to be his finest works....