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 Sergei Rachmaninoff


Born:   April 1, 1873
Deceased:   March 28, 1943

Russian composer, outstanding virtuoso pianist and conductor

      

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was born (on March 20) on April 1, 1873 in the Oneg estate of the Novgorod Province. His mother started teaching him music when the child was four years old. At the age of nine he entered the Petersburg Conservatory, and in 1885 shifted to the Moscow Conservatory. Musical endowments of the young man were phenomenal.

In 1891, a year before earlier than expected, Rachmaninoff graduated from the conservatory majoring in piano, and after a year majoring in composition class. Sergei Taneyev, Anton Arensky, and Alexander Siloti were his teachers. The student received a gold medal for his examination work – the one-act opera Alecko on a set libretto. This opera was staged in the Bolshoi Theater. Soon after Alecko Rachmaninoff composed the symphonic fantasy Cliff , the Elegiac Trio in memory of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the First Symphony. These works testified to appearance of a great and bright talent in music. In the same years he gave concerts that were invariably successful.

In 1897 Rachmaninoff was invited to the Russian Private Opera (Moscow) as the conductor. In 1904-1906 he conducted in the Bolshoi Theater, then left this work to endulge in composing fully, but continued to perform as a conductor and a pianist from time to time. True blossoming of Rachmaninoff’s creativity took place in the early 20th century.

From 1901 to 1916 the composer created a range of remarkable works, such as the Second and Third Concerts for Piano with an Orchestra, the Second Symphony, the operas Avaricious Knight (after Alexander Pushkin’s book) and Francesca da Rimini (after Dante), the Bell poem for orchestra, chorus and soloists, preludes and etudes for the piano, etc. In 1917 Rachmaninoff with his family moved to Sweden. Then he moved to America and conquered it with his masterly performance.

After departure from Russia Rachmaninoff underwent a period of creative silence, and only ten years later, in 1927, he composed the Fourth Concert for Piano with Orchestra. It was also abroad that he composed Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, to Symphony No. 3, and Symphonic Dances.

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff died on March 28, 1943 in Beverly Hills and was buried in Valhall (near New York, the USA).


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