A key figure in Russian musical life at the turn of the century, Georgi Lvovich Catoire was born in Moscow on April 27, 1861 to an assimilated French family. Although fascinated by music from an early age (at 16 he began studying the works of Richard Wagner), he enrolled as a student of mathematics and science at the University of Moscow, graduating in 1884. After graduation, however, he decided to devote himself to music. His early compositions showed the influence of Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, and, indeed, in 1888, Tchaikovsky, in a letter to Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, described Catoire as "very talented…(but) in need of serious schooling". This was subsequently provided by such teachers as Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatol Lyadov, Anton Arensky and Sergei Taneyev.
His musical activities progressed to the point that by 1916 he was appointed Professor of Composition at the Moscow Conservatory, a position he held for the rest of his life. Catoire wrote several treatises on music theory, which became the foundation for the teaching of music theory in Russia. His composition style was a synthesis of the Russian, German (Wagner) and French (Frédéric François Chopin, César Franck and Claude Debussy) schools. His output includes two symphonies, a piano concerto, choral works, songs, and chamber music. The first violin sonata, Op. 15, dates from 1900 and the second, Op. 20, from 1906. Among his students at the Moscow Conservatory were Kabalevsky and Polovinkin. He died in Moscow on may 21, 1926. ~ Alexandre Sacha Catoire