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The soccer super fan who was also a famous composer

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich enjoys a soccer game at a stadium in the 1940s.Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes

Interview with Dmitri Braginsky


September 23, 2019
Shostakovich soccer Blanter
Composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Matvei Blanter at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk, Russia, July, 1947.
Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes

Writing music can be a tough job, especially when your opinions run counter to the government, you are under constant surveillance and threat of punishment. Composer Dmitri Shostakovich found one thing, across the span of decades, that took him away from that stress and brought him enjoyment: soccer. Musicologist Dmitri Braginsky has written a new book about Shostakovich's obsession with "the beautiful game."

Shostakovich football cover
Dmitri Braginsky's book on Shostakovich's fascination with soccer
Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes

Braginksy says that in pictures Shostakovich always looks stern, as if he's deeply concentrating or seriously annoyed. The pictures of Shostakovich at a soccer (or 'football' match as he called it) show a different person entirely. He's smiling from ear to ear.

Click to listen to Fred Child's interview with author and musicologist Dmitri Braiginsky.