Dmitri Bortnianski


Born: Oc­to­ber 28, 1751, Glu­khov (now Hlu­khiv, or Глухів), Uk­raine.

Died: Oc­to­ber 10, 1825, St. Pe­ters­burg, Rus­sia.

Buried: St. Al­ex­an­der Nev­sky Mon­as­tery, St. Pe­ters­burg, Rus­sia.



Bortniansky’s mu­sic­al ca­reer be­gan in the church choir. As a young man, he stu­died with Bal­das­sa­re Gal­up­pi (il Bu­ra­nel­lo) in St. Pe­ters­burg.

In 1769, Bort­ni­an­sky fol­lowed Gal­up­pi to It­aly (with the help of a sti­pend from Rus­sian Em­press Cath­er­ine) to work in op­era. After re­turn­ing to Rus­sia, he be­came mas­ter of the court choir in St. Pe­ters­burg.

In 1796, he was ap­point­ed di­rect­or of the czar’s court cha­pel and a coun­cil­or of state.


Other Works & Influences

Bortniansky al­so wrote a num­ber of cho­rus­es in Old Church Sla­von­ic.

After his death, his work spread to Prus­sia, where his mu­sic ap­peared in the Alt­preuß­ische Agen­de (Old Prus­sian Agen­da) in 1829.

His tune St. Pe­ters­burg is a tra­di­tion­al clos­ing piece for the Groß­er Zap­fen­streich (ce­re­mo­ni­al tat­too) in Ger­man mi­li­ta­ry mu­sic.