|TIKHON KHRENNIKOV (2002 file/ap)|
MOSCOW -- Tikhon Khrennikov, who headed the Soviet Union of Composers for four decades and denounced Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev as decadent, died Tuesday in his home in Moscow. He was 94.
Mr. Khrennikov was a favorite of several Soviet regimes, earning top Communist Party awards for numerous symphonies, operas, and songs that glorified the Soviet Union.
In 1948, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin appointed him to head the Union of Composers, a position he held until the Soviet collapse in 1991. At the first congress of composers after his appointment, Mr. Khrennikov denounced fellow composers Shostakovich and Prokofiev for "Western decadence" and deviating from principles of "socialist realism."
He protected them and several more composers seen as dissidents from prosecution, however, according to his official biography. Despite his connections, Mr. Khrennikov was unable to save his two brothers, who were arrested in 1937 at the peak of Stalin's purges and died in custody.