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T he 15 February 1895 marks the beginning of the long history of the Gnessin education complex’s creation. On this day the E. & M. Gnessin Musical College opened its doors as a small, private music education institution, founded by two sisters, Moscow Conservatoire graduates and students of V.I. Safonova—the Conservatoire’s director: Evgenia and Elena Gnessin.

In 1919 Gnessin became a state school, however it still managed to retain its integral work and organization principles (in 1920 in accordance with the state program, the academic division was divided into an elementary school and a secondary school under one administration). In 1923 Mikhail Gnessin, a student of the prominent composer Rimsky-Korsakov, created the composition and music theory department. The growth in number and quality of enrolled students quickly made Gnessin one of the best College-Institutes in all of secondary education within the Soviet Union, preparing the finest personnel for the Conservatoire. This led to the decision to create a new higher music education institution.

In March of 1944 state leaders approved a proposal to create the Gnessin State Music-Pedagogical Institute. In 1946 a special 10-year music school was created within the framework of the institute, thereby forming a complex of four institutions—institute, college, special school, and children’s 7-year school—all as before under the direction
of E.F Gnessin. In 1992 the Institute was reorganized as the Gnessin Russian Music Academy.

It is at Gnessin that the first Folk-Instrument Department in all higher education was organized, as well as the departments of vocal performance in folk and pop idioms, sound production, musical management (as of 2005 renamed the production department), computer music, information and acoustics.

Instructors at the Gnessin College (Institute and Academy) have included: R. M. Glier, A. T. Gretchaninov, E. A. Beckman-Sherbina, G. G. Newhouse, M. V. Yudina, L. N. Oborin, T. D. Gutman, V. V. Borisovsky, S. M. Kozolupov, K. A. Erdeli, M. F. Gnesin, N. I. Speransky, V. D. Konen, N. A. Garbuzov, A. I. Khachaturyan, Y. V. Flier, B. A. Pokrovsky, B. A. Tchaikovsky, M. I. Fikhtengolts, M. I. Greenberg, A. I. Yam polsky, S. E. Feinberg, E. V. Gippius, U. N. Tiulin. Graduates of the institution include: Z. Dolukhanova, E. Svetlanov, M. Tariverdiev, V. Fedoseev, T. Dokshizer, L. Zykina, K. Ivanov, E. Kisin, Y. Kazakov, I. Kobzon, N. Nekrasov, A. Rudin, V. Dashkevich, D. Tukhmanov and many others.