1928    The Nose

1932   Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District

1958    Moscow, Cheryomushki (operetta)

1963    Katerina Izmailova

OPERAS (unfinished):

1932    The Great Lightning

1942    The Gamblers 


1930    The Golden Age

1931    Bolt

1935    The Limpid Stream


1925    Symphony no. 1 

1927    Symphony no. 2 “October”

1929    Symphony no. 3 “The First of May” 

1936    Symphony no. 4  (fp 1961)

1937    Symphony no. 5

1939    Symphony no. 6

1941    Symphony no. 7 “Leningrad”

1943    Symphony no. 8

1945    Symphony no. 9 

1953    Symphony no. 10

1957    Symphony no. 11 “The Year 1905”

1961    Symphony no. 12 “The Year 1917”

1962    Symphony no. 13 “Babi Yar”

1969    Symphony no. 14

1971    Symphony no. 15 


1929    The Bedbug

1929    The Shot 

1932    Hamlet

1941    King Lear 

1954   Hamlet


1928    Suite from The Nose

1930    Suite from The Golden Age

1931    Suite from Bolt

1932    Suite from Hamlet

1934    Suite No. 1 for Jazz Orchestra

1938    Suite No. 2 for Jazz Orchestra


1933    Piano Concerto no. 1

1948    Violin Concerto no. 1

1957    Piano Concerto no. 2

1959    Cello Concerto no. 1

1966    Cello Concerto no. 2 

1967    Violin Concerto no. 2


1919    Scherzo in F-sharp minor

1922    Theme and Variations in Bb Major

1924    Scherzo in Eb Major

1954    Festive Overture

1963    Overture on Russian and Kyrgyz Folk Themes 

1967    October, Symphonic Poem


1948    From Jewish Folk Poetry

1974    Suite on Texts of Michelangelo

1974    Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin


1938    String Quartet no. 1 

1944    String Quartet no. 2 

1946    String Quartet no. 3 

1949    String Quartet no. 4  

1952    String Quartet no. 5

1956    String Quartet no. 6

1960    String Quartet no. 7 

1960    String Quartet no. 8

1964    String Quartet no. 9 

1964    String Quartet no. 10

1966    String Quartet no. 11 

1968    String Quartet no. 12 

1970    String Quartet no. 13 

1973    String Quartet no. 14

1974    String Quartet no. 15


1923    Piano Trio no. 1

1934    Sonata for Cello and Piano

1940    Piano Quintet

1944    Piano Trio no. 2

1968    Sonata for Violin and Piano

1975    Sonata for Viola and Piano


1926    Piano Sonata no. 1

1927   Aphorisms

1933    24 Preludes

1943    Piano Sonata no. 2

1951    24 Preludes and Fugues

Performance History

Works by Dmitri Shostakovich 

Shostakovich is a composer that is performed quite frequently at CYS: 16 separate occasions in the last 28 years!  The works performed include:

1995    Cello Concerto no. 1  (Aaron Jang, cello)

1998    Symphony no. 5

2000    Cello Concerto no. 1  (Peggy Liu, cello)

2002    Cello Concerto no. 1 (Naoya Kanai, cello)

2003    Symphony no. 15

2004    Symphony no. 5

2006    Festive Overture

2007    Violin Concerto no. 1  (Zenas Hsu, violin)

2008    Symphony no. 1

2010    Cello Concerto no. 1  (Michael Tan, cello)

2011    Symphony no. 15

2013    Festive Overture

2017    Cello Concerto no. 2 (Davis You, cello)

2020    Festive Overture (virtual)

2021    Symphony No. 5, 4th mvt. (virtual)

2023    Symphony no. 1

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 1, Opus 10 (1925)


Historically, the symphony is a public genre. In the 18th century, when the form was derived from the opera overture, the sinfonia, by Sammartini and his Italian colleagues, it was used as an imposing opening concert piece to call attention to the importance of what followed. It differed from the chamber music of the day in its use of large orchestra, its broad expression and its performance for a sizeable assembly of music lovers in a spacious hall. Though the symphony underwent many changes at the hands of Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and the others capable of handling its challenge, the form continued to be the bearer of the grandest emotions, while a composer’s more personal thoughts were confided to chamber music, songs, and other intimate works…

Quiz yourself on facts about Shostakovich

Shostakovich Video Links

Shostakovich: His life In Pictures

A very interesting montage of Shostakovich’s life. Feel free to jump around in the video, which last 8 minutes. Can you guess what the background music is? Be sure to listen to and watch Shostakovich playing the piano!

Shostakovich performing his Piano Concerto No. 1 (1933)

Here is a fabulous segment of Shostakovich himself playing his Piano Concerto No. 1. As with Prokofiev, Shostakovich was a phenomenal pianist, although later in life he had to stop playing due to hand ailments. 

Waltz from the Jazz Suite No. 2 (1938)

Here is something different! As was discussed in earlier sections, Shostakovich was an avid jazz fan and composed a number of works based on a distinctly jazz-inflected style. This is the wonderful (and catchy!—you might be humming this for a few days!) Waltz from his Second Jazz Suite (his First Jazz Suite was composed in 1934). The legendary André Rieu leads the orchestra at a Dutch Festival. Amazing! This short work is likely to be one of our 2024 tour encores:) 

The Golden Age Ballet (1927-30)

The Golden Age is a 1930 ballet by Shostakovich that takes a satirical look at 1920s European culture and politics. The story follows a Soviet soccer team in a Western city where they come into contact with Western European characters such as the Diva, the Fascist, the Agent Provocateur, and others. The team is freed from jail when local workers overthrow their capitalist overlords. The ballet ends with a dance of solidarity between the soccer team and the workers. Shostakovich employs his very famous Tahiti Trot (“Tea for Two”), which can easily be heard in this superb video of a small section from the ballet. The ballet was initially censored due to its inclusion of popular European dance styles of the times.

String Quartet No. 8 (1960)

Shostakovich completed 15 string quartets during his lifetime, and the String QuartetNo. 8 if often considered to be the greatest and most powerful of the 15 quartets. It was written in 1960, very shortly after Shostakovich joined the Communist Party. The score states that the work is dedicated “to the victims of fascism and the war”, but Shostakovich’s children disagreed: his son Maxim stated that it was a reference to the victims of totalitarianism, and his daughter Galina averred that Shostakovich dedicated the work to himself, and that the published dedication was imposed or forced upon the composer by the Soviet authorities. The work is relentlessly dark and brooding, and makes extensive use of Shostakovich’s musical cipher DSCH (D Natural, Eb, C natural, and B natural), which stands for Dmitri Shostakovich. It is hard to miss! Very powerful stuff, to be sure!

Symphony No. 10: 2nd movement (1953)

A tremendous performance of the second movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, composed in the same year that Stalin died (1953) and often said to be a musical representation-especially in this movement-of the brutal Soviet dictator himself. The conductor Gustavo Dudamel who is featured here has recently been appointed the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Good luck and Best Wishes, Gustavo!!

Symphony No. 4 (1936)

In January of 1935 Shostakovich wrote the following to an interviewer: “I am not afraid of difficulties. It is perhaps easier, and certainly safer, to follow a beaten path, but it is also dull, uninteresting and futile.” The composer proved this by composing his Symphony No. 4 in 1935-36. It was halfway through this period that Shostakovich was denounced by the Soviet authorities in a famous article titled “Muddle Instead Of Music”-a blow to the composer, who suddenly saw many of his works banned from performance, including his wildly successful opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Plans for the premiere of his tremendously difficult and very long (over one hour in length) Fourth Symphony went by the wayside and the performance was cancelled. It was not until 1961 (!) that the work was first performed. Offered here is an excerpt from this gargantuan work, which calls for one of the largest orchestras the composer ever wrote for. The influence of Shostakovich’s favorite composer Gustav Mahler dominates throughout the work: the banal vs. the deeply felt and moving music that was so characteristic of Mahler…

Testimony (1988 film)

In 1979 the book Testimony was published by the Russian musicologist Solomon Volkov, who claimed that it was the memoirs of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Volkov said that Shostakovich dictated the material in the book at a series of meetings with him between 1971 and 1974. Volkov took notes at each meeting, transcribed and edited the material, and presented it to the composer at their next meeting. Shostakovich then signed the first page of each chapter. The very controversial book, which presents Shostakovich’s music as veiled criticism of the Soviet authorities and support for the dissident movement, has been called a hoax by numerous musicologists and Shostakovich scholars. A movie was made (also titled Testimony) in 1988, which basically quotes passages from the book. I include here the final moments of the film, which relate to the composer’s death in 1975. The 2.5-hour film is definitely an interesting film, with great music! 

Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1932)

Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is often considered to be Shostakovich’s greatest and most profoundly moving work. The opera was completed in 1932 and was immediately a smash hit. Despite early success on popular and official levels, Lady Macbeth became the vehicle for a general denunciation of Shostakovich's music by the Communist Party in early 1936: after being condemned in an anonymous article (sometimes attributed to Joseph Stalin but actually authored by David Zaslavsky) in Pravda, titled "Muddle Instead of Music", it was banned in the Soviet Union for almost thirty years, until 1961. The tragic and brutal ending of the opera is shown here. The Act 4 scenario is as follows: On the way to penal labour to Siberia, Katerina bribes a guard to allow her to meet Sergei. He blames her for everything. After she leaves, Sergei tries to seduce another convict, Sonyetka. She demands a pair of stockings as her price. Sergei tricks Katerina into giving him hers, whereupon he gives them to Sonyetka. Sonyetka and the other convicts taunt Katerina, who pushes Sonyetka into an icy river – also, herself, falling in. They are swept away and the convict train moves on.

Piano Concerto No. 2  In F Major: 2nd movement (1957)

The Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed specifically for Shostakovich’s pianist son Maxim, and it has remained one of Shostakovich’s most popular works since its first performance at the Moscow Conservatory (with 19-year-old Maxim as soloist) in 1957. The slow movement heard here with Yuja Wang has always been one of my absolute favorite movements of any Shostakovich composition. Supremely moving, simple yet profoundly deep. This was one great composer! Enjoy:)

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor (Finale)  (1948)

We end with a tour-de-force performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Shostakovich composed a total of six concertos: two each for piano, violin, and cello. The Finale is his Violin Concerto No. 1 is a technical showpiece for both soloist and orchestra and is beautifully executed here with Hilary Hahn as violin soloist.