Peter and the Wolf

A musical story by Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was born in the Donets region of the Ukraine.  He was a child prodigy, composing for piano at age five and writing an opera at nine. He attended the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1904 to 1914, winning the Anton Rubinstein prize for best student pianist when he graduated. He travelled widely, spending many years in London and Paris, and toured the United States five times.

In 1936, Prokofiev returned to settle permanently in the Soviet Union.  One of his first compositions after his return was Peter and the Wolf, written for a children's theatre in Moscow. Prokofiev invented the story and wrote the narration himself, drawing on memories of his own childhood. He constructed the music as a child's introduction to the orchestra, with each character in the story represented by a different instrument or group of instruments: Peter by the violin, the bird by the flute, the duck by the oboe, the cat by the clarinet, the wolf by the French horn, Peters' Grandfather by the Bassoon and the hunters by Timpani.

Peter and the Wolf has been loved by children all over the world. The music is sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by adults, even through repeated hearings.

Resources for children

The story of Peter and the Wolf (pdf)

Pictures of the characters to colour (pdf)

A site with powerpoint presentations about Peter and the wolf

Disney animated version of Peter and the Wolf (YouTube),   Part 1 Part 2

Links for further information

Sergei Prokovief on Wikipedia

Peter and the Wolf on Wikipedia