Anton Arensky

Portrait of Anton Arensky

Anton Arensky was a Russian composer, pianist and a professor of music. He was born on 12th July 1861 in Veliky Novgorod, Russia and died on 25th February 1906 in Kirllovskoe, Russia aged 40. 

Major Works

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1881)
Symphony No 1 (1883) 
“Son na Volge” 
(Dream on the Volga) (1888)
Rafael” (Raphael) (1894) 
Piano Trio No1 (1894) 
“Variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky”
“Egyptian Nights”
“Pamyati Suvorova” (To the Memory of Suvorov) (1900)


Anton Arensky was born on 12th July 1861 in Novgorod, Russia. He was taught by his mother who was an amateur pianist.

1879: The family move to St Petersburg. Arensky was already composing songs and works for the piano. He studies composition at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov who was initially very impressed with his student but in later years his view soured due to Arensky’s phenomenal successes.

1882: Arensky graduates from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and wins the Gold Medal for composition. He becomes Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint at the Moscow Conservatory where he taught Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninoff amongst others.

1883: Mily Balakirev takes over the post of Director of the Imperial Chapel with Rimsky-Korsakov as his assistant although the latter was to fall out with his boss and resign in November.

1890: Arensky’s opera “Son na Volge” (A Dream on the Volga) is premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on 2nd January.

1891: He composes Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor.

1894:  Balakirev himself retires as Director of the Imperial Chapel and recommends Arensky for the post much to the annoyance of Rimsky-Korsakov. Arensky composes “Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky”.

1895: Arensky returns to St Petersburg as the Director of the Imperial Choir.

1899: He composes Symphony No 2.

1901: Arenksy retires from the Imperial Choir but continues to compose and conduct. He lives on his comfortable pension from his former post.

Anton Arensky died on 25th February 1906 of tuberculosis in Perjarvi in Russian administered Finland. He was buried in the Tikhvin Cemetery.

Further Information

List of works by Arensky.