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Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (12 November 1833 - 27 February 1887) was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of Georgian-Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music. He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the US musical Kismet.
Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg, the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble, Luka Gedevanishvili and a 24-year-old Russian woman, Evdokia Konstantinovna Antonova. The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his serfs, Porfiry Borodin. As a boy he received a good education, including piano lessons. He entered the Medico-Surgical Academy in 1850, which was later home to Ivan Pavlov, and pursued a career in chemistry. On graduation he spent a year as surgeon in a military hospital, followed by three years of advanced scientific study in western Europe.