Sergei Prokofiev

Fun Facts

  • An only child, Prokofiev was doted on by his parents.

  • Prokofiev’s mother, a musician, ensured that he had musical education and exposure from a very young age.

  • Prokofiev composed his first piano piece at age five, and his first opera when he was nine.

  • Prokofiev was extremely good at chess.

  • Prokofiev won the piano competition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory by performing his own Piano Concerto No. 1. The prize was a grand piano.

  • One of Prokofiev’s best-known works, Peter and the Wolf, was written in only four days.

  • His long arms and large hands allowed Prokofiev to compose and perform demanding piano music. His concertos and solo sonatas remain huge technical hurdles for most pianists who attempt to play them.

  • After the premiere of Prokofiev’s second piano concerto, the audience reportedly left the hall exclaiming that "The cats on the roof make better music!"

  • Prokofiev abbreviated his signature to only the consonants in his name.

  • Some of Prokofiev’s melodies sound violent, aggressive, or even alien to some ears.

  • Prokofiev enjoyed composing for children.

  • After the Chicago debut of his opera, The Love for Three Oranges, was a flop, Prokofiev relocated to Paris where he was met with a warmer reception.

  • Prokofiev wrote nine ballets, including the very successful Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella.

  • Walt Disney wanted Prokofiev to write the music for the movie Fantasia (1940).

  • Prokofiev died the same day as fellow Russian, Joseph Stalin.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Prokofiev.


View Sergei Prokofiev's full biography.