Cesar Antonovitch Cui

Cesar Antonovitch CuiCesar Antonovitch Cui was born at Vilna, Poland, January 18, 1835.

His father was a French officer, left behind in the retreat from Moscow, in 1812, afterwards becoming professor of French at the High School, Vilna.

He early showed a precocious talent for music, and studied the piano, and during holiday times he studied the theory of music with Moniuszko.

In 1850 he went to the School of Military Engineering in St. Petersburg, from which he graduated in 1857.

At the same time he came under the influence of Balakirev, one of the pioneers of the “New School” of Russian music. This revived Cui’s keen interest in music, and he continued to work at composition during his spare time, and enjoyed the friendship of such men as Rimsky-Korsakoff and Moussorgski.

Eventually he became an acknowledged authority on fortifications, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and at one time the present Emperor of Russia was one of his military pupils.

As a musician, Cui is best known by his compositions, and may be regarded as self-taught.

He has composed eight operas, many choral and orchestral works for strings, besides a large number of pianoforte pieces and songs.

His best known piano pieces are, perhaps, the Berceuse and the Conzonetta.

Cesar Cui died March 13, 1918, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.