(b Ol′shanka, Kursk province, 10/22 April 1892; d Saint Cloud, nr Paris, 13 June 1954). Russian composer. He studied from 1911 at the Moscow Conservatory and from 1913 at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Maximilian Steinberg and Nikolay Tcherepnin. In 1918 he emigrated to France. He developed his own notational system, a harmonic language involving 12-note chords, and several electronic instruments including the croix sonore. The score for his ecstatic, 2000-page Knigi zhizni (‘The Book of Life’) for solo voice, two pianos, electronic instruments, and orchestra (written between 1918 and the mid-1920s or later) is signed ‘Nicholas l'Illuminé’ and includes markings in the composer's blood.
From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.