It is with immense sadness that we bring you the news that the Russian-British composer Dmitri Smirnov died yesterday in Watford Hospital from the coronavirus, at the age of 71.
Many of you will remember Dmitri and his family from a number of beautiful concerts in Cambridge (including “The Splendour of Russian Music” last November) where his daughter Alissa Firsova played the piano and often performed musical pieces by her parents, Dmitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova.
Dmitri was born in Minsk, studied in the Moscow Conservatoire, and lived in Britain since 1991, first in Cambridge, then in Keele, and later in St. Albans. He was fascinated by the poetry and art of William Blake and composed operas and an oratorio to Blake’s verses. He translated Lermontov and Mandelshtam into English, and Blake into Russian. Dmitri enjoyed to the full being immersed in the sounds and patterns of the surrounding world, and exploring its hidden layers and interconnections. He was a talented artist, poet and author, a deep thinker, and a very warm, kind and genuine person who would immediately make you feel at ease with a few gentle gestures and a modest and sunny smile. He
was truly devoted to everyone and everything he loved – his family, friends, music, writing, learning about the mysteries of the Universe, and “seeing a world in a grain of sand” (Blake).
Dmitri Smirnov will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family – Elena, Alissa and Philip.