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Revol Samoilovich Bunin, 1924 - 1976
Revol Samoilovich Bunin (Russian: Револь Самойлович Бунин; 6 April 1924 in Moscow – 3 July 1976 in Moscow), was a Russian composer. His viola concerto (Op. 22) was composed in 1953 and dedicated to his close friend, violist Rudolf Barshai, who would later found and direct the Moscow chamber orchestra. In 1938 Revol started his compositions studies at the Music School of the Moscow Conservatory under Professor Ilya Litinsky. During his third year of studies he was admitted to the Conservatory and continued his studies under Professor Vissarion Shebalin, who was, at the time, the Conservatory’s director. In 1941, he was summoned first to work at the military factory in Moscow and then was drafted to an active duty. Taking into account his musical gift, so he could continue to attend the classes, he was stationed near Moscow. He was decommissioned due to ill health in March 1943. In June 1943 Shostakovich started to teach at the Moscow Conservatory and Bunin was the first student he selected to be his pupil. For a while, Bunin was Shostakovich’s only student. He graduated the Conservatory in 1945 with honors. Shebalin could not forgive Bunin’s defection to the Shostakovich's class from his own and did not allow his name to be added to the “Golden Board” of exemplary students.
In 1947, Bunin moved to Leningrad, where he taught music arrangement at the Leningrad Conservatory and assisted Shostakovich as a co-professor of composition. The same year, his 2nd Symphony was premiered in Leningrad, under the direction of conductor Evgeny Mravinsky. In 1948, he moved back to Moscow and worked as an editor for the State Music Publishing.
After a government decree set stringent regulations on music and art in the Soviet Union, Shostakovich was dismissed as Professor in the Conservatory. Consequently, his assistant, Bunin, also lost his position and became, for a while, a persona non grata. He had to make his living by writing scores for other composers. His music has won, on several occasions, the Stalin Prize, but Bunin’s name did not appear, nor was mentioned to the selection committee.
Revol Bunin died on July 3, 1976 in Moscow. He was mourned by his wife, Larisa, his friends and many students. He had no children. He was never awarded State honors, for he refused to join the Communist Party, in contrast with many of his colleagues.
Bunin wrote music scores for 48 motion pictures, cartoons and documentaries. He left 45 major compositions, including nine symphonies, numerous sonatas, quartets, trios, an opera, romances and several concertos for piano, violin. His viola concerto (Op. 22) was composed in 1953 and dedicated to his close friend, violist Rudolf Barshai, who would later found and direct the Moscow chamber orchestra.