Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



The music of Nikolai Kapustin is a roller coaster ride of syncopation, hemiolas, glissandos and perpetual motion. Born in Russia at a time when the communist government forbade such creative foreign elements as improvisation and jazz, Kapustin brought to life an innovative style of music that melded classical and jazz elements into a unique, emotive sound that leaves the listener breathless. The focus of this study is Kapustin’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 39. This study goes through a detailed analysis of the sonata as a whole as well as each individual movement. It also includes a brief biography of the composer, describing the restrictive environment in which Kapustin’s creative genius flourished. There are many characteristics that distinguish Kapustin’s music, primarily his incorporation of jazz into classical forms. Other elements unique to Kapustin are his use of hemiolas and syncopations, ambiguous harmonies and meters, depictions of jazz ensembles, as well as writing a majority of his music in perpetual motion. Some of the elements of this piece remind the listener of such compositions by Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and Chopin, and even the snare and bass drums of a rock band. I will discuss how each of these characteristics can be seen in each movement. I hope this paper will encourage a new generation of musicians and music lovers to explore the kaleidoscopic sounds of Kapustin.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sioles, Gregory



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Music Commons