Alexander Borodin Biography

Aleksandr Borodin was a great Russian music composer who had composed several great compositions which are still admired by music aspirants in Russia and all over the world. Read this biography to learn about the profile, life and time line.

Alexander Borodin

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 12 November 1833
Died: 01 February 1887
Nationality: Russian
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Spouse/Ex-: Ekaterina Protopopova
Education: Saint Petersburg State University, Q4287701

Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin was a Russian Romantic (Western Classical) composer of Georgian-Russian origin. Borodin was a member of ‘The Five’ or ‘The Mighty Handful’ a group of musician who specifically produced Russian art music. His popular works includes symphonies, string quartets and an opera ‘Prince Igor’ which is a result of his hard work for about twenty years. US musical Kismet had adapted his music from both string quartets and Prince Igor. His primary career was that of a successful chemist and Chemistry professor. He was an amateur musician and played instruments like flute, cello and piano. His works were noted for musical excellence and melodious tunes. His wonderful melodies remained popular even after his death and the music of the popular song of 20th century, Stanger in paradise, is derived from Prince Igor. Borodin is revered for his contribution to science and Russian Culture. Learn about the life and career of this doctor cum musician from this Biography.

Early Life

Borodin was born on 12th November 1833 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He was the illegitimate son of the Georgian prince Luka Gedianov (Gedianishvili) and a commoner Avdotya Antonova. Borodin was registered as the son of Porfiriy and Tatyana Borodin, the prince’s surfs. His real mother Antonova married a military doctor. Borodin received good education and studies all subjects of a gymnasium course. He was an enthusiastic child despite being weak due to poor health. He had genuine interest in Chemistry and was passionate about music, modeling and painting. He had an extraordinary knack for learning languages and learnt English, French, Italian and German along with the native language Russian. He started receiving flute lesson at eth age of eight. He then learnt piano and violoncello as well. He joined the St. Petersburg Medical-Surgery Academy in 1850 and remained there till he was passed out in 1856 with honors as a Medical Doctor. He was passionate about chemistry that he earned a doctorate degree in organic chemistry. His dissertation for this subject was “On the analogy of arsenic acid with phosphoric acid in chemical and toxicological behavior”. He joined the military hospital after graduation and remained there for one year. He then went to Western Europe for advanced scientific studies. Borodin’s first composition happened when he was nine years old. He wrote a concert for flute and piano at the age of thirteen and a violoncello at fourteen.
Borodin joined the Academy of Medicine as a professor of Chemistry, in 1862 and established medical courses for women. Because of his ill health from childhood days, he had overcome many ailments including cholera and many heart attacks. He had immense passion for music and started taking lessons in composing in 1862, from Mily Balakirev.

Personal Life

Borodin married Ekaterina Sergeyevna Protopopova on 29th April 1863. The couple adopted a girl, Liza Balaneva, who got married to A.P Dianin, Borodin’s fellow chemist.

Career As Chemist

Borodin was highly passionate about Chemistry and wanted to learn the subject in detail. This led him to the idea of taking a doctorate degree in organic chemistry. He worked on aldehydes and this brought great respect to him in the profession. He carried out his works on benzene derivatives in Emil Erlenmeyer’s laboratory and his works on organic halogens in Pisa. Hunsdiecker reaction, which was published by Hunsdiecker in 1939, was named and promoted by the Soviet Union as Borodin Reaction. He returned to the Medico-Surgical Academy in 1862 and started working on the ‘self-condensation of small aldehydes’. His papers were published in 1864 and 1869. Borodin along with Charls Adolphe Wurtz shares the credit for the discovery of Adolphe reaction. His last full article was on amides which got published in 1875 in which he discussed about the method of identification of urea in animal urine.

Career As Musician

Borodin was revered for his works characterized by rich harmonies and strong lyricism. Borodin’s first symphony was conducted by Balakirev in 1869. Borodin started working on his second symphony the same year, which was a failure at its premier but, after Franz Liszt arranged it performance in Germany in 1880, it became great success and Borodin’s started receiving international recognition. Borodin started composing his first opera Prince Iqor in 1869 and worked on it about twenty years. This is regarded as the most significant work of him. It consisted of Polovtsian Dances and is often performer as a stand-out one. He couldn’t complete this work as the composition was slowed down due to his heavy workload. This work was the completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov. His other works include two string quartets along with many songs and piano pieces.

Death and Legacy

Borodin died on 27th February 1887 in St. Petersburg. He was entombed in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St.Petersburg. Borodin’s music were adapted fort the Musical Kismet by Robert Wright and Gorge Forrest which won the Tony Award. Many of his compositions are still being played in many parts of Russia.

Recognition

He was awarded Tony Award (Posthumous) for the Kismet, 1954.
Hunsdiecker reaction, which was published by Hunsdiecker in 1939, was named and promoted by the Soviet Union as Borodin Reaction.

Timeline

1833: Borodin was born on 12th November in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
1850: Borodin joined the St. Petersburg Medical-Surgery Academy.
1856: Borodin passed out from Medical-Surgery Academy in 1856 with honors as a Medical Doctor.
1862: Borodin joined the Academy of Medicine as a professor of Chemistry.
1863: Borodin married Ekaterina Sergeyevna Protopopova on 29th April.
1869: Borodin’s first symphony was conducted by Balakirev.
1862: Borodin returned to the Medico-Surgical Academy and started working on the ‘self-condensation of small aldehydes’.
1875: His last full article on amides got published, in which he discussed about the method of identification of urea in animal urine.
1887: Borodin died on 27th February in St. Petersburg.

Citation Information

Article Title

Alexander Borodin Biography

Author

Findbiographies.com Editors

Website Name

The Findbiographies.com website

URL

https://www.findbiographies.com/alexander-borodin-136.php

Last Updated

June 01, 2019

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