Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Sergei Prokofiev was an extremely prolific composer whose career brought him success throughout Europe and the U. S. as well as Russia and the Soviet Union. He wrote for nearly every genre, and his most popular works today include operas, ballets, symphonies, and concertos. As a pianist, most of the concertos and sonatas that Prokofiev wrote were for the piano. However, his contributions to the violin repertoire are significant. Prokofiev wrote two concertos and two sonatas for solo violin. Of these, Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Op. 80 is unique for many reasons. The piece took Prokofiev eight years to finish, an unusually long amount of time for a composer who normally wrote quickly. He began the piece in 1938, shortly after permanently returning to the Soviet Union. At this point, Prokofiev’s career and popularity seemed to be at its peak. By the time the piece was premiered in 1946, Prokofiev had been subject to Soviet censorship and travel restrictions. In addition, the overall tone of the sonata is significantly harsher and more melancholic than Prokofiev’s other works for violin. These characteristics give the sonata unparalleled potential for meaningful individual interpretations. It is the interpretation of this piece that is of primary focus in this instance. Several factors regarding the origins, context, and schools of interpretation are considered. These factors include details of Prokofiev’s biography leading up to Op. 80’s completion, a brief history of Op. 80’s composition and early reception, a formal analysis of the piece, a review of available recordings, interviews of professors at major conservatories in the U. S., and a comparison of available editions.



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Committee Chair

Lilleslatten, Espen



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