ALEMDAR SABITOVYCH KARAMANOV (b 1934 )
Alemdar Sabitovich Karamanov, son of a Russian mother and Turkish father, was born in Simferopol, inland Crimea, on 10 September 1934. Surviving the German occupation from July 1942 to May 1944, he went to the Moscow Conservatory in 1953. Here, among contemporaries including Shchedrin, Denisov, Volkonsky, Gubaidulina and Schnittke, he worked with Bogatiryov (1953-58), completing his studies under Kabalevsky and Khrennikov, head of the Composers Union. Vladimir Natanson, a disciple of Feinberg, was his piano teacher, Spurning party benefits and the Red Square Establishment, he returned home to Simferopol in the mid-1960s, a gaunt, reclusive figure, urban by night, rural by day, resigned to a struggle for existence, food-parcels, and gifts from well-wishers.
Much of Karamanovs music, including the first ten symphonies, dates from his apprenticeship in Khruschevs Moscow, when his reputation was as a "complicated" pantonal modernist, "with a very sharp ear" and a "bright" intellect. Negative circumstances allied to a pathological reluctance to "write anything down" explain in part why virtually nothing has appeared since the mid-1980s, barring revisions, a couple of film-scores, and the Crimean National Anthem of February 1992. Long forced to imagine his ideas solely in the concert rooms of his mind, Karamanovs recent claim to be only now conceiving some of his greatest work suggests, however, no lessening of the creative urge. Twenty-four symphonies (1954-83), three ballets (1961-85), seven concertos (piano, violin, trumpet, 1958-68), three string quarters (1953-62), four piano sonatas (1954-61), sundry piano cycles (including nineteen Concert Fugues, 1964), choral settings (1954-74) and songs (to Russian, African and Latin texts, 1963-74) make up the list of his works.