Aram Khachaturian was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, to a poor Armenian family. In his youth he was fascinated by the music he heard around him but it was not until 1921 that he travelled to Moscow and was admitted to the Gnessin Institute where he studied cello under Mikhail Gnessin and entered composition class in 1925. It was here that the young Armenian developed a love for Orientalism reinforced by an passion for the music of his homeland.
He held important posts at the Composers’ Union, which would later severely denounce some of his works as being ‘formalist’ music, along with those of Sergey Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. These three composers became the so called ‘titans’ of Soviet music, enjoying world-wide reputation as leading composers of the 20th century.