Obituary: Russian Composer Dmitri Smirnov Dies, Aged 71

By Logan Martell

It has been announced that Russian composer Dmitri Smirnov has passed away on April 9, 2020, due to the coronavirus.

Born on November 2, 1948 in Minsk, Belarus, Smirnov grew up in a family of opera singers, himself going on to study at the Moscow Conservatory from 1967 to 1972. As a composer, Smirnov penned two operas based on texts from William Blake, titled “Tiriel” and “Thel,” which premiered just months apart from each other in 1989; that same year, his “First Symphony” would be performed at the Tanglewood Festival in the United States.

Shortly after becoming one of the founders of Russia’s Association for Contemporary Music, Smirnov moved to the United Kingdom, where he was a Composer-in-Residence at the University of Cambridge, Dartington, and a visiting professor at Keele University.

In 1998, Smirnov and his family moved to St. Albans, and since 2003 he taught at the Goldsmiths College, one of the schools which comprise the University of London.

Smirnov is survived by his wife Elena Firsova, and their two children Philip Firsov and Alissa Firsova.