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Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (23 April 1891 - 5 March 1953) was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His best-known works include the March from Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet - from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken - and Peter and the Wolf. He also composed amongst many other works five piano concertos, nine completed piano sonatas and seven symphonies.
A graduate of the St Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev initially made his name as an iconoclastic composer-pianist, achieving notoriety with a series of ferociously dissonant and virtuosic works for his instrument and his first two piano concertos. Prokofiev's first major success breaking out of the composer-pianist mould was with his purely orchestral Scythian Suite, compiled from music originally composed for a ballet commissioned by Serge Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes; Diaghilev commissioned three further ballets from Prokofiev - Chout, Le pas d'acier and The Prodigal Son - which at the time of their original production were all highly successful. Prokofiev's greatest interest, however, was opera, and he composed several works in that genre, including The Gambler and The Fiery Angel. Prokofiev's one relative success in that genre during his lifetime was The Love for Three Oranges, composed for Chicago and subsequently performed over the following decade in Europe and Russia.