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 Sviatoslav Richter

Born:   March 20, 1915
Deceased:   August 1, 1997

Soviet and Russian pianist, the Peoples Artiste of the USSR


Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was born on March (7) 20, 1915 in Zhitomir, into a musical family – his father was a pianist, organist and composer. In 1922 the Richters moved to Odessa, where Sviatoslav started learning music on his own and trying to compose music pieces for stage plays. In 1934 the musician’s first solo concert took place. Richter had a big dream of becoming a conductor, so he moved to Moscow and graduated from the conservatory. During the Great Patriotic War he performed a lot, including concerts in blockaded Leningrad. In post-war years the popularity of the pianist was growing more and more.

However, it was not before 1960 that he got a permit to visit the United States of America, because Richter did not conceal his friendship with lots of those Russian cultural figures, who were labeled as unreliable. The American tour gained him international acclaim and popularity; he was the first among Soviet musicians to be awarded with Grammy. Sviatoslav Richter revealed tremendous working capacity, giving more than seventy concerts in a year. In his repertoire there were works of various eras – from baroque to the present. He played music compositions by Bach, Haydn, Prokofiev, Liszt, and Schumann.

The People’s Artiste of the USSR, the Hero of Socialist Labour, the winner of several state and music awards - Richter got numerous awards and medals, including those from foreign states. 

Sviatoslav Richter died of a heart attack on August 1, 1997 in Moscow. In 1999 a museum room was opened in the Moscow house, where the great pianist had lived.

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