The music of twentieth-century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is a sharp mix of traditional and modern elements. His innovative style is characterized by emotional restraint, strong drumlike rhythms, harsh-sounding harmonies, and humor. Prokofiev was born in the town of Sontzovka, in the Ukraine. His mother, an accomplished pianist, encouraged her young son to play along with her as she practiced. The young Prokofiev showed unusual talent and began composing music at the age of 5. At the age of 13, he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied with some of the finest teachers of the day, including Rimsky-Korsakov. By the time he graduated in 1914, Prokofiev has established… himself as a musical innovator. In 1918 Prokofiev left Russia to appear as a pianist and conductor in Europe and the United States. While in America, he composed his most popular opera, Love for Three Oranges (1919), a musical satire of traditional operatic plots and conventions. From 1922 to 1933, Prokofiev lived mostly in Paris, where he composed two ballets, three symphonies, and four concertos. In 1934 Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union. Back in his native land, Prokofiev's style mellowed, and he accepted the idea that a state-supported artist must appeal to a wide audience. During the next few years, he composed some of his most popular and best-known pieces, including Peter and the Wolf (1936) and Romeo and Juliet (1938). Prokofiev won the Stalin Prize during World War II. However, in 1948 Prokofiev and other leading Russian composers were denounced by Soviet Communist party leaders for "antidemocratic tendencies alien to the Soviet people." He returned to favor in the early 1950s and enjoyed great success in the Soviet Union, winning the Stalin Prize a second time. By the year of his death, in 1953, Prokofiev's music had become well known throughout the world.