Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906 –1975) was a Russian composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the late Romanticism associated with Gustav Mahler. Between 1929 and 1970 Shostakovich wrote more than thirty movie soundtracks, but it’s his score for the 1955 film The Gadfly that remains the big hit in this century.