Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote his Peter and the Wolf in 1936 to introduce to children the instruments of the orchestra. He displayed musical talent at an early age. He started composing at age five and started writing an opera at age nine.

Prokofiev attended the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1904 to 1914, and had travelled widely, spending many years in London and Paris.

 

Peter and the Wolf

Sergei Prokofiev

In 1936 Prokofiev moved back to the Soviet Union permanently. Shortly after his return, he wrote a series of “mass songs” and composed some music for children. One of which was Peter and the Wolf. It was written in just two weeks in April of 1936 for a children's theatre in Moscow.  Prokofiev wrote both the story and the narration himself, drawing on memories of his own childhood. 

He constructed this particular work as a child's introduction to the orchestra, with each character in the story represented by a different instrument or group of instruments: Peter by the strings, the bird by the flute, the duck by the oboe, the cat by the clarinet, the wolf by the horn section, and so on.

 
Peter and the Wolf was an immediate success and was well-loved by both children and adults.

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~Written by Boon Sin Ler