Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich was born in St Petersburg on 25 September, 1906, one of three children in the family of a government official. He began regular music lessons at the age of nine and enrolled at the Petrograd (St Petersburg) Conservatoire at thirteen, studying in the composition classes of Professor Maximilian Steinberg, himself a pupil and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov. From his very first efforts at composition, Shostakovich’s genius as a composer shone through, and his training in the Korsakov school fostered his brilliant technical grasp. He completed the course in composition at the Conservatoire in 1923 and Professor Leonid V. Nikolaev’s course in piano in 1925. The highest achievement of his early creative period is the First Symphony (1925) and The Nose, the opera based on Gogol’s tale (1928). These scores combined all the novelty of the Russian musical avant-garde along with the dramatic qualities – through the complete range to high tragedy – which were later to become the hallmark of the greatness and renown of Shostakovich the artist.