Medtner, Nicolas [Metner, Nikolay Karlovich ]
- Barrie Martyn
[Metner, Nikolay Karlovich ]
(b Moscow, Dec 24, 1879/Jan 5, 1880; d London, Nov 13, 1951). Russian composer and pianist. His ancestors came from northern Europe (his father was of Danish descent and his mother of Swedish and German extraction), but by the time of his birth the family had been established in Russia for two generations and had thoroughly assimilated a Russian identity without abandoning their German cultural inheritance.
Medtner played the piano from the age of six, receiving lessons first from his mother and later from his uncle, Fyodor Goedicke. Enrolling in 1892 at the Moscow Conservatory, he studied successively with A.I. Galli, Pabst, V.L. Sapel′nikov and Safonov, and graduated in 1900 with the institution's gold medal as the outstanding pianist of his year. As a composer he was largely self-taught. Though he wrote music throughout his student years and in his junior course had studied theory with Kashkin and harmony with Arensky, he did not follow the customary advanced conservatory regime for prospective composers, even abandoning, with his connivance, Taneyev's counterpoint class, while continuing to take him his work informally....