Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (Russian: Дми́трий Дми́триевич Шостако́вич , tr. Dmitriy Dmitrievich Shostakovich, pronounced [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ˈdmʲitrʲɪɪvʲɪtɕ ʂəstɐˈkovʲɪtɕ]; 25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet composer and pianist, and a prominent figure of 20th-century music.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death).
A poly-stylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his music. Shostakovich's music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the post-Romanticism associated with Gustav Mahler.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber output includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His piano works include two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, several song cycles, ballets, and a substantial quantity of film music; especially well known is The Second Waltz, Op. 99, music to the film The First Echelon (1955–1956), as well as the Suites composed for The Gadfly. Taken from Wikipedia