Skip to main content

Mikeshina, Ariadna, 1900-1982



  • Existence: 1900 - 1982


Ariadna Mikéshina (Cyrillic: Ариадна Микешина), 1900-1982 was a Russian-born American composer active in the first half of the twentieth-century. Born Ariadna Nikolsky in Yalta, Crimea in the Russian empire, she married Mikhail Roumanov, but later changed her name from Roumanova to Mikeshina after her granduncle, the acclaimed Russian sculptor Mikhail Mikeshin. Her life and work remains largely unknown and mostly unpublished. Privately educated and Russian conservatory-trained until her music education was interrupted by the Russian Revolution, she eventually studied under Ottorino Resphigi in Italy before permanently settling in the United States.

Mikeshina showed early musical talent and was accepted to the St. Petersburg Conservatory at age eight where she studied piano under Nicholas Lavrov, a student of Anton Rubinstein. An early composition was shown to conservatory director, Alexander Glazunov, who encouraged her to study composition with him after completing her piano course. However, her family was forced to flee Russia after the revolution and she was never able to study with Glazunov.

After leaving Russia, Mikeshina lived briefly in California, Constantinople, Italy and New York. She had some success as an accompanist during these years but longed to study composition. With Glazunov’s encouragement, she studied with Ottorino Resphigi in Rome from 1930 to 1934 when she returned to the United States. She accompanied ballet classes for George Balanchine and later Anatole Vilzak of the American Ballet Theatre with whom Mikeshina also took an administrative position. She also coached vocalists, lectured on Russian folk songs and the history of dance. She gave recitals at New York’s Town Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall.

Mikeshina was a relentless self-promoter, however she never joined the American Composer’s Alliance, ASCAP, or other such composers organizations which may have helped her composition career. She none-the-less composed a large number of songs, works for violin and piano as well as other solo instruments with piano accompaniment, music for plays, ballet and some orchestral works. Some of these compositions were performed by significant orchestras and ensembles during her lifetime, but the majority of her work remains unpublished and unknown. Her compositions were in an international style and sometimes criticized for being antiquated and conservative in comparison to other twentieth-century composers who composed in more daring or experimental styles.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ariadna Mikéshina music manuscripts and papers

Identifier: Mikeshina

The Ariadna Mikéshina Music Manuscripts and Papers comprise a collection of the Russian-born emigre composer’s music in manuscript and published editions as well as some programs, notes and correspondence documenting her career. Mikéshina composed songs, works for solo piano, solo instruments with piano accompaniment as well as works for chamber ensembles, orchestra and music for ballet and plays.

Dates: 1917 - 1982