Facts about Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff died at 69 years old
Born: April 1, 1873
Birthplace: Russia
Best known as: The Russian pianist who composed Prelude in C-sharp Minor

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Sergei Rachmaninoff Biography

Sergei Rachmaninoff (also Rachmaninov) was a Russian-American pianist, conductor and composer of the early 20th century. His Piano Concerto No. 2 and Prelude in C-sharp Minor (Op. 3 No. 2) are two of the most popular pieces in classical music.

He studied in St. Petersburg and at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was a celebrated student. Rachmaninoff became a star early on, with 1982’s Prelude in C-sharp Minor.

Rachmaninoff’s initial success was followed by writer’s block and he didn’t compose anything for more than three years. He struggled with self-confidence and other minor illnesses the rest of his life, they say.

During his career Rachmaninoff was a distinguished performer and conductor, known for his virtuosity and his ability to master his own very difficult compositions — thanks in part to his unusually large hands.

After the Russian revolution, he and his family settled in the United States (1918), first in New York and then in California. Just prior to his death, Rachmaninoff became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

He wrote four piano concerti, three symphonies, three operas and two dozen preludes, as well as choral symphonies and piano sonatas. In classical music terms, Rachmaninoff belongs to the period of Late Romanticism.


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