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Andrei Petrov (Composer)

A native of St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), Petrov was the son of a military doctor; his mother was an artist. He had little interest in music until, at 14, he saw The Great Waltz; after this he decided to become a composer. He studied composition at the Leningrad Conservatory under Orest Yevlakhov.

Petrov was known for his work in various genres; he wrote a number of operas and ballets, as well as symphonic works, incidental and film music, and various songs. He was especially famous for his ballet Creation of the World, based on drawings by Jean Effel. This was performed around the world, with Mikhail Baryshnikov among its first performers. Petrov also scored over eighty films, including the Soviet-American co-production The Blue Bird.

From 1964 until his death Petrov was the head of the St. Petersburg Composers’ Union, to which he was introduced by Dmitri Shostakovich. He also founded and served as the general director of a music festival in St. Petersburg. He won numerous prizes and awards; on May 22, 1998 he was made an honorary citizen of St. Petersburg, and a small planet was also named after him.

Composed the main theme (waltz) for the 1966 film Beware of the Car.

Petrov’s wife, Natalya Yefimovna, was a well-known musicologist; his only daughter, Olga, co-wrote a number of his later works.

Andrei Petrov died in St. Petersburg; he is buried at the Volkovskoye Cemetery in the city.