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Born: 12 November 1833
Died: 27 February 1887
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (Russian: Александр Порфирьевич Бородин, Aleksandr Porfir'evič Borodin) (31 October/12 November 1833 – 15 February/27 February 1887) was a Russian composer of Georgian parentage who made his living as a notable chemist. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music. He is best known for his symphonies, his opera Prince Igor, and for later providing the musical inspiration for the musical Kismet.
Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg, the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble (Saeklesio Aznauri, Baron-Vidam), Luka Simonis dze Gedevanishvili, who had him registered instead as the son of one of his serfs, Porfiry Borodin. As a boy he received a good education, including piano lessons, but he was eventually to earn a doctorate in medicine at the Medico–Surgical Academy, the later home to Ivan Pavlov, and to pursue a career in chemistry (just as his comrade César Cui would do in the field of military fortifications). As a result of his work in chemistry and difficulties in his home-life, Borodin was not as prolific in writing music as many of his contemporaries were - hence his own description of himself as a "Sunday composer." He died during a festive ball, where he was participating with much vigor; he suddenly collapsed from heart failure. He was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
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