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Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Sergiei Rachmaninoff

Biography

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873, Semyonovo, Russia – 28 March 1943, Beverly Hills, Calif.) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor.

Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom that included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity, and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output. He made a point of using his own skills as a performer to explore fully the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Even in his earliest works he revealed a sure grasp of idiomatic piano writing and a striking gift for melody.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Rachmaninoff emigrated to the West, first to Scandinavia, then to the United States. Most of the last 25 years of his life were dedicated to concertizing and recording, with the prominent support of Vladimir Horowitz. Rachmaninoff completed only six compositions during this period, mainly at his summer home in Lucerne, Switzerland, of which Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is the best known.


Works for Winds


References