Valery Viktorovich Zhelobinsky (Russian: Bалерий Bикторович Желобинский; sometimes transcribed from the Cyrillic as 'Zhelobinski' or 'Valarie Jelobinsky'; Tambov, 27 January 1913 – Leningrad, 13 August 1946) was a Russian composer and pianist.
Life and works
Zhelobinsky studied music firstly at Tambov and then from 1928 to 1932 at the Leningrad Conservatory with Vladimir Shcherbatov. He performed across the Soviet Union as a soloist. He returned to Tambov in 1942 where he taught at the College of Music and was Chairman of the Composers' Union.
For his short career, Zhelobinsky's output was large. His four operas, which include The Peasant of Komarino (Комаринский мужик), produced in Leningrad in 1933, and Mother (Мать, 1938, based on the novel by Maxim Gorky), were well received. He also wrote orchestral music including six symphonies, and three piano concertos. His Romantic Poem for violin and orchestra was premiered in Leningrad together with the first performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Sixth Symphony in November 1939.
From his numerous piano works, the 'Six short études' were introduced to the United States by Vladimir Horowitz and were published there in 1946. Two of these études were recorded by Oscar Levant.
Shostakovich thought highly of Zhelobinsky, and argued in a 1951 letter to Mikhail Chulaki, secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers, that he should be included in a proposed list of 100 Russian composers, pointing out that 'dying at a very young stage of [his] development, [he] never reached the peak of [his] composing talents'.