He was born in Gori, Georgia (then part of Imperial Russia) to Georgian -Armenian parents. He graduated from Tbilisi State Conservatory in 1931. From 1934 to 1938, he worked at the Moscow Conservatory. From 1942 to 1944, he served as a principal and artistic director of the Central Ensemble of the Soviet Navy. In 1946, he was awarded the Stalin Prize. In 1948, his opera The Great Friendship was censured by the resolution of the Communist Party Central Committee. After Joseph Stalin's death, he was restored to favor and granted the title of the People's Artist of the USSR in 1968. His later works include the operetta Moscow-Paris-Moscow (1968).
- USSR Information Bulletin, Volume 6, Embassy of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, 1946, p.677
- The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 2, Grolier, 1992, p.336
- Laurel E. Fay, Shostakovich and His World (Princeton University Press, 2004), 44.
- Page on van Rijen site Contains a worklist
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