Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917). Of Czech descent, Ludwig Minkus was born in Austria but spent most of his life working as a ballet composer in Russia. Following the spectacular success of his ballet Don Quixote (which premiered at the Bolshoi in 1869), Minkus was appointed official ballet composer to the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg; he served in this capacity for over a decade. The success of his ballets infuriated Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, whose more experimental music frequently met with public disdain. (Rimsky-Korsakov was particularly miffed at the success of Minkus’s ballet Mlada; only a year earlier, his own more adventurous work on the same subject had flopped.) Time has a way of turning the tables, though: today, Minkus is hardly remembered at all outside Russia.
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