I have inherited a lot of... I will be honest I am not sure what to call them. Would they be called classical, symphony?

I came across a collection of Dmitri Shostakovich or Dimitri Schostakowitch or just Shostakovitch, A google search will show me the same person, I am curious which is right or are they the same people and why the different spelling of the First and Last Name?

Please see attached pic of all 3 Albums

enter image description here

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    I’m voting to close this question because this describes a language-transliteration issue, the only relation to music being that here the name of a composer is affected. Music Fans might be more appropriate for that reason, but possibly some more language-related board exists.
    – guidot
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 8:34
  • 2
    Unbelievable no. of visits to a seemingly (to me) trivial question, with pretty obvious answers. Hardly a musical theory/practice related one though. vtc.
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 12:06
  • Hah. I once (yeah I'm old) was searching "Tchaikovsky" in a library card catalog. Rather a lot of different spellings. Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 15:52
  • @guidot Actually, I'm torn toward regarding this as on-topic under "music history." The minute discussion in the comments is certainly not what we're here for, but the core question is common and reasonable enough that this could be helpful. Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


The right spelling is Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович. Or Дмитрий Шостакович if omitting the patronymic.

He was Russian.

Transliteration of his name into the Latin alphabet varies:
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (English transliteration),
Dmitri Dmitrijewitsch Schostakowitsch (German transliteration),
Dmitri Dmitrievitch Chostakovitch (French transliteration),
Dmitrij Dmitrievič Šostakovič (scientific transliteration),
and so on.

Adding: To copy (and edit) this from my comment below before an admin comes and deletes them all, Dimitri is a cognate of Dmitrij. (Cognate: a variant of a word evolved from the same older form, usually in a different language.) Replacing people's names with their cognates more familiar to the audience used to be common practice, for example you've probably heard of the writer Leo Tolstoy, whose name was actually Lev (Лев), or you might have come across another composer named as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, rather than directly transliterated Pyotr (Пётр). Nowadays this practice is on its way out and people's names are more often given in their original foreign form.


To add to the other answer, re. Dmitriy vs Dimitriy. The name was originally Dimitriy, from the Greek Demetrius. In modern Russian, it's contacted to Dmitriy, but in more conservative settings, e.g. church, it's still Dimitriy and the diminutive forms, Dimich, Dima or Dimka, still retain the first i. There's a comprehensive entry on the Russian Wikipedia: https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%94%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9 auto translate works well. The older form was more popular when Shostakovich become famous, he was most likely published under it in the West.

  • Very interesting — can you link any source to confirm or illustrate this? All modern Russian editions I’ve seen of his work use Дмитрий, his Russian Wikipedia article only uses the modern spelling as far as I can see, and I can’t find early Russian facsimile sources to check (my Russian google-fu isn’t up to much). Unfortunately the few scores of his that are on IMSLP have his name Romanised, or else are surname-only.
    – PLL
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 22:13
  • @PPL I've added an article to the Russian wiki about the name itself. As to Shostakovich himself, I don't know any direct sources, but pronouncing Dimitriy is one of the tropes I've often seen in movies/shows about pre revolutionary Russia, to show the characters are "old times" and it's the right time period, so....
    – Eugene
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 1:47
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    @Eugene Just so we're on the same page about which time period we're talking about, at the time of the revolution Šostakovič was 11 years old. His active career years span from 1920s to 1970s. What's more, the article you link says nothing of the sort you claim - it just notes that the name Dimitrij is used specifically in the context of the orthodox church, gives the old Russian form of the name as Dmitr (Дъмитръ), and lists a number of Russian orthodox church holidays. At the end there's a list of surnames derived from the name.
    – Divizna
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 2:47
  • In another article linked from there that lists notable historical bearers of the name Dimitrij or Dmitrij, Byzantine political figures are all listed as Dimitrij; Russian princes are all listed as Dmitrij, ever since the 13th century; saints are listed as Dimitrij again; orthodox bishops and patriarchs (for whom it's not their birth name but assumed) are all listed as Dimitrij as well; and anyone else is missing altogether.
    – Divizna
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 3:03
  • @Divizna that's just modern convention. E.g. we know that Duke Dmitriy Donskoy was spelled Dimitriy historically, e.g. here, from a 17th century history book: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Donskoy#/media/…, but since he's also a saint, he will be Dmitriy in a textbook and Dimitriy in a religious book. Similarly if a Dmitriy dies tomorrow, at the funeral, he will be Dmitriy.
    – Eugene
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:06

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