Russian composer Edison Denisov (1929-1996) was one of the most important figures among Soviet composers in the generation that followed Shostakovich. With Shostakovich's encouragement, Denisov began to reintroduce avant-garde styles in Russia through works like The Sun of the Incas (1964) and Peinture (1970). Working within the Soviet Composers Union, Denisov served as an important contact with the West and as a conduit for information about Soviet artists. His Requiem (1980) and Haydn Variations (1982) are definitive masterworks of immediate pre-Perestroika Russia. Denisov lived to see the end of the Soviet Union, but was plagued by ill health in his last years.