Mikhail Glinka (1804, Russia - 1857, Berlin) is the first Russian composer to win international recognition, and the acknowledged founder of the Russian nationalist school. Glinka first became interested in music at age 10 or 11, when he heard his uncle’s private orchestra. He studied at the Chief Pedagogic Institute at St. Petersburg and took piano lessons with the Irish pianist and composer John Field. As a dilettante he composed songs and a certain amount of chamber music. He studied composition seriously for six months in Berlin. Recalled to Russia by his father’s death, he married and began to compose the opera that first won him fame, A Life for the Tsar. Glinka has been described as a dilettante of genius. His slender output is considered the foundation of most later Russian music of value.