BALAKIREV, Miliy Alekseyevich (b. 21 December 1836 [2 January 1837], Nizhny Novgorod; d. 16  May 1910, St. Petersburg) — organizer and inspirational force behind the circle of Russian composers known as the “Mighty Handful”; in 1862, together with G. Ya. Lomakin, founded the Free Musical School in St. Petersburg, conducted its vocal-symphonic concerts, and worked with its choir. From 1883 to 1894 was the Administrator of the Imperial Court Chapel; from 1881 to 1908 again headed the Free Music School, which he had left in the 1870s.
The main sphere of B.’s compositional activity was instrumental music (symphonic and piano); his works also include compositions for vocal chamber ensembles, songs, secular choruses a cappella, arrangements for chorus of solo and instrumental compositions. Despite close ties with the field of church music and a personal religiosity, B. composed only nine sacred works, of which five are free compositions and four are arrangements of chants.