Prokofiev is one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century, acknowledged for his originality in works across various genres and in several styles, from the Russian Romantic style to innovatively dissonant works that caused a stir in the public forum. His music is unique in its use of original diatonic melodies. He lived in Western Europe and the United States for many years, before returning to Russia in the 30s.
Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka, in present day Donetsk, Ukraine. His father was originally from Moscow. Prokofiev received piano and composition lessons and at the age of 11, made his first attempt at a symphony. During a trip to St. Petersburg, Prokofiev and his mother met Glazunov, who was so impressed with Prokofiev that he insisted that he enrol at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Several years younger than most of his classmates, he was seen as arrogant, eccentric and with an inflated sense of entitlement. Prokofiev grew a reputation as a musical rebel.
Through his former teacher, Chernov, Prokofiev met the critics Vyacheslav Karatïgin and Walter Nuvel, who were the organisers of the Evenings of Contemporary Music, and the latter of whom knew Diaghilev. It was at these concerts that Prokofiev made his début as a composer in late 1908. He also performed works by other composers at these evenings. His Second Piano Concerto caused a scandal at its premiere on the 23rd of August 1913 with the audience leaving in shock at the ‘futuristic’ mayhem, but the modernists were very pleased and many well-known critics viewed it favourably.