Yuri Kabalevsky was born on January 22, 1931. His father was Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987), the world-renowned Soviet composer, educator, public and political figure. His mother was Eduarda (Bluman) Kabalevskaya (1911-1981), a professional translator of English writers such as Ray Douglas Bradbury, Sidney Sheldon, James "Jim" Harrison, and John Galsworthy. The family broke up when the boy was five years old. After that Yuri lived with his mother but continued to stay in close touch with the father and his new family. Dmitry Kabalevsky dedicated 24 light pieces (Opus 39) to his son on his 12th birthday.
Because of his father, Yuri Kabalevsky had the opportunities to meet many famous Soviet composers and musicians (Reinhold Glière, Nikolai Myaskovsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian, Yakov Flier, Mstislav Rostropovich and many others). He developed passionate love of chess since the early childhood. Playing in the tournaments of the House of Composers Creativity and Relaxation, he competed against many well-known representatives of the Soviet musical art who loved the game and were strong chess players.
Yuri Kabalevsky did not become a musician. After completion of high school, he entered Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Lomonosov Moscow State University. He graduated the university in 1953 with major in mathematics and started his career as a teacher in one of Moscow schools. He was an innate educator: erudite, patient, and gentle. Working at school, Yuri developed an advance calculus course for the gifted high school students. The next significant step in his educational career was a teaching position in Moscow Civil Engineering Institute.
At the end of 1960th Yuri Kabalevsky became an employee of Giprotis. This company was in the forefront of utilization of computers for calculation of engineering structures and in development of Computer-aided design systems in the Soviet Union. Yuri was one of those who were at the beginning of the computer revolution in the country. Giprotis was a very dynamic company which employed many strong and bright professionals and several dissidents known to the entire country (Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Valentin Turchin), Working at Giprotis, he experience strong desire to return to the field of education.
At the beginning of 1970th Yuri Kabalevski began an employment at Moscow mathematical junior college as a teacher and administrator. At the same time he defended PhD dissertation in the field of education.
Yuri had tremendous passion for the chess through the entire life. Learning the game in the early age, he continued to play himself and teach others to play chess almost to the last days of his life. He was a good chess player, close to a chess master level. However his success as a chess arbiter was much higher than a chess player. World Chess Federation (FIDE) awarded the title of International Arbiter to Yuri Kabalevsky. He acted as an arbiter on many international and national chess competitions and was familiar with 7 World chess champions (Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, and Garry Kasparov).
Being an outstanding chess educator, Yuri Kavalevsky devoted much time to teaching the young chess players, boys and girls. He was a director of the School of Young Chess Talents at Moscow Young Pioneer Palace for several years. He taught the chess game to the school age children in the local chess clubs for several decades. Many of his students studied the game under his tutelage since early childhood until the high school graduation. The students loved and respected him. Yuri Kabalevsky could find a right approach to any student. He was proud with their success and felt their problems keenly. Many of his students became strong chess players, developed love to the game for the entire life, and saved bright memory about their wonderful teacher.
Yuri Kabalevsky was a kind, considerate, patient, and intelligent person. However he could become decisive and firm if the circumstances required. He demonstrated civil courage in his political and social views and in the selection of friends and acquaintances. Some of them were included in the “black lists” by the authorities of the country. This type of behavior was unsafe, even dangerous for any citizen of the Soviet Union. G. A. Kabalevskaya, Yuri’s wife, said that living with him, she fell very secured and protected, as “behind the stone wall.” Many friends of Yuri Kabalevsky considered him as a typical representative of the Russian intellectuals of 19th century described by the Russian classic writers of that time with such power and warmth. Until his last days, Yuri remained loving and cherishing husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather for the members of his large family. He died on November 17, 2016 and buried in Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow.
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