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Russian Piano Virtuoso & Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff Died On This Day in 1943

Russian composer, piano virtuoso and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff died on this day in 1943


Russian composer, piano virtuoso and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff died on this day in 1943.

As a young boy, Sergei's cousin Aleksandr Siloti, an esteemed concert pianist and conductor, recognized his musical talents and recommended sending him to Nikolay Zverev, a renowned teacher and pianist in Moscow, for piano instruction. It was under Zverev's rigorous and disciplined tutelage that Sergey developed into one of the preeminent piano virtuosos of the 20th century. In addition to his piano studies, Sergey furthered his studies in piano and composition at the Moscow Conservatory.

His signature works include four piano concertos, three symphonies, the symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead, Prelude in C-sharp minor for solo piano, two major a cappella choral works the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and All-Night Vigil, three operas, 83 songs for voice and piano, two piano trios, Morceaux de Salon for violin and piano and a cello sonata.

Despite composing primarily in the 20th century, Rachmaninoff's music remains deeply rooted in the musical language of the 19th century. Essentially, he embodies the culmination of a tradition reminiscent of Tchaikovsky—a Romantic composer who continued to evoke melodies of grand emotional scope during a time of dynamic change and artistic experimentation.

In addition to his musical talents, Rachmaninoff had physical attributes that greatly benefited him as a pianist, such as his large hands capable of an impressive finger stretch.

Rachmaninoff died from melanoma – 4 days after his 70th birthday. He is remembered as one of the last great representatives of Russian romanticism.



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