Composers You Should Know: Galina Ustvolskaya

Saturday, June 17, would have been the 98th birthday of Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006). Ustvolskaya studied at the Leningrad Conservatory and was a pupil of Shostakovich who was a champion for her works, even though her style evolved to be distinctly different from her mentor’s.  As a developing composer she had few opportunities to hear her works in performance.  However, there has been new interest in her unique approach in recent years outside of Russia. Known for unusual combinations of instruments, extreme dynamics, use of tone clusters, and repeated, homophonic blocks of sound, Ustvolskaya was reportedly called “the woman…