Eminent Introductory Post

“Even if they cut off both my hands and I have to hold my pen in my teeth I shall go on writing music.”

– Dmitri Shostakovich, 1936

Who is my Eminent person?

I have selected Dmitri Shostakovich, a Soviet composer. I would like to learn about Shostakovich for my Eminent project is because I enjoy his music a lot, and I would like to learn more about his actual life.

What specifically draws me to my chosen person?

His music was censored for a while because their style did not comply with Stalin’s regime, but he would go on to find creative ways to not only make his music sound like it fits with the totalitarian regime he was under, but to also write the music in a style that he wanted to make.

As a learner, what do you share in common with your chosen notable? Is it a similarity of passions, interests, or upbringing?

Me and Shostakovich both started music education at a fairly young age, with signs of a good memory. Besides that, we do not share much in terms of upbringing.

What qualities do you feel that you share in common with your chosen notable? If you do not feel you share many qualities in common, what qualities do you aspire to emulate of your notable?

I feel that me and Shostakovich both have a good sense of musical theory and knowledge, although Shostakovich obviously has had a lot more experience. I couldn’t find much information about Shostakovich’s qualities, but I am sure that he had many.

To what extent does your chosen notable exemplify your own goals in TALONS?

In WWII, Shostakovich was faced with many challenges, as you would expect in such an environment. He was simply trying to get by alive. Although my situation is certainly not as dire as his, I would like to not only “get by” TALONS, but also to do well in it so that I can be prepared for the later years of high school.

What barriers might you have to connecting with your Eminent person’s gender, class, religious faith, and geography, and how might you address these barriers in your project?

Shostakovich was heterosexual, and I could not find any information about his religious faith. I did find out that Shostakovich was in the lower-middle class, so he was not by any means well off. However, I do not think that any of these points may cause any barriers in my project, whatever they may be.

How has this person contributed to their field in a tangible and positive way?

Shostakovich’s music was very emotional, and although some of his later works in his life could be seen as bleak and boring, I feel that among his pieces, he is able to convey a lot of dramatic emotion.

In what ways has this person left a ding in the universe? Will they be remembered for affecting change in 10, 50, or 100 years? If so, how and why?

Eventually, everything and everyone will be forgotten. In terms of Shostakovich, I am unsure as I think that he is relatively one of the less popular composers of our time.

What obstacles or challenges has/did this person face during their rise to eminence?

Shostakovich watched as his friends and family disappeared during the Great Purge. However, he found a way to comply with Stalin’s regime while still expressing himself.

How did they overcome or deal with these obstacles? What are their wants and fears?

Shostakovich overcame this obstacle by cleverly constructing pieces of music that not only comply with Stalin’s regime, but that also expressed himself.

Why is this person worth researching, remembering, and teaching your peers and
community about?

I think that we can all learn from Shostakovich and how he persevered in difficult times, and although we may not experience something similar to what he experienced, we will always face walls, but we must learn to overcome them.

If part of a large field of study, why choose this person over others in this field?

I personally listen to Shostakovich’s music quite a lot, and his musical style is like none other. I genuinely think that there is no composer (as far as I have seen) that has a sound very similar to his.

What wisdom might we “take away” from a study of this person? 

There will be difficult times in life, but you must learn to overcome them and persevere so that you can do what you enjoy.


  1. Edward · October 24, 2021 at 3:25 pm ·

    Hi Kavyan,
    I particularly enjoyed how you decided to write about a lesser-known composer. It is interesting how you stated that Shostakovich wrote music that both complied with the requirements of Stalin’s regime but also represented his own creative style. In regard to your personal connections to the composer, I find it interesting that you believe Shostakovich exemplifies your goals because of how he coped with difficulty in a challenging environment, and, in fact, excelled and continued to produce music. I think your post could be improved with the use of more imagery – for example, a portrait, a photo of Shostakovich in the process of writing music, etc.

  2. Joanne · October 24, 2021 at 7:34 pm ·

    Hi Kavyan, I liked how you organized the questions into Q&A and not into a big paragraph, it was easier to read. One thing I would recommend is some picture to make it more visible. Looking forward to read more of your posts! -Joanne

  3. Joshua1 · October 24, 2021 at 8:01 pm ·

    Hello Kavyan,
    I found your post very enjoyable to read, and it was interesting to learn how Shostakovich found ways to create his music under the choking Soviet regime.

    There were some common grammatical errors in your writing, but they did not detract from the overall enjoyability of your content. However, I would suggest that you triple-check your writing, or run a quick scan with a program such as Grammarly.

  4. Jordan · October 24, 2021 at 9:10 pm ·

    Hi, Kavyan,
    I thought your post was very insightful and provided meaningful reasons why you had a strong connection to Shostakovich. It was very helpful to see what you thought you shared in common with him and what aspects of his character you aspire to.
    I liked the way you split up the points into different sections, as it made it much easier to read, but I do have one suggestion. This is just personal preference, but it could have been good to group related questions together and answer them in a very short paragraph so that there weren’t as many with only one sentence answers.
    Overall, it was very well-phrased and I look forward to learning more about him through your future posts.

  5. Emilie · October 25, 2021 at 12:17 pm ·

    Hey Kavyan,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. The way you broke the questions up into a Q&A made it easier to read and quite helpful. One thing I would add would add a photo of Shostakovich to add a bit more depth. Looking forward to reading your next post.

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