Jāzeps Vītols was a Latvian composer. Vītols, the son of a schoolteacher, began his studies in composition in 1880 at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. After graduating in 1886, he remained at the Conservatory to teach composition and reached the rank of Professor in 1901. His pupils there included Nikolai Myaskovsky and Sergei Prokofiev. Vītols was a close friend of fellow professors Alexander Glazunov and Anatoly Lyadov; he would regularly participate at Mitrofan Belyayev's "Weekly Fridays" — regular meetings of prominent Russian composers at Belyayev's home. At the time, Belyayev was Vītols' primary publisher. Besides academia, Vītols also spent time as a music critic for the St Petersburger Zeitung from 1897 to 1914.