Life Chronicles

The Shostakovich family lived in a house on Nikolayevskaya Street next to the flat of Dmitri’s godmother, well-known writer of children’s books Klavdia Vladimirovna Lukashevich. Dmitri often heard Klavdia Vladimirovna’s son-in-law, engineer Boris Andreyevich Sass-Tissovsky, playing the violoncello through the wall. Shostakovich wrote later: ‘Until I began learning music, I did not have a desire to learn. I felt some interest in music. When a quartet gathered at my neighbors, I would put my ear to the wall and listen.’

Summer 1915: He started to learn to play the piano under his mother’s guidance.
Autumn: His first performance playing Tchaikosky’s “Children’s Album”

“In childhood I showed no particular liking for music. It wasn’t the same for me as for other composers. At the age of three I did not creep up to the door to to listen to music being played, and when I did listen to it, I managed to sleep just as soundly as the night before.
I went to the theatre for the first time in the spring of 1915. We heard `The Legend of Tsar Saltan‘. I liked the opera, but it still did not get the better of my reluctance to start learning music.
‘It was too much like hard work to learn to play’, I thought to myself.
Yet Mother still insisted and in the summer of 1915 she started to give me piano lessons.
That was how she ran things: as soon we reached the age of nine, it was off to the piano. That is how it had been with my two sisters, that is how it was with me. The lessons went well. I started to like music and to like the piano.”