Sergei Rachmaninov was born on April 1, 1873 in Semyonov, Russia to aristocratic parents. His parents, Vasily and Lubov were amateur pianists; aware of their son’s talent, they hired St. Petersburg musician Anna Ornatskaya as a tutor for him. In 1882, the family lost its fortune, so they moved to St. Petersburg, where Rachmaninov was granted a scholarship by the local Conservatory; however, he failed his general exams in the spring of 1885. Rachmaninov, then twelve years old, moved to Moscow where he studied under the strict Nikolai Zverev at the Conservatory. He thrived in this new environment and finished his piano studies in 1891, one year early. In March 1897, his Symphony No. 1 premiered, and received horrible reviews, sending the composer into a depression that stifled his creativity for three years; he recovered and enjoyed success until the Russian Revolution. In 1902, he married his cousin Natalia, and they had two daughters. In 1917, his family estate was seized by the Russian rebels, and he moved his family first to Denmark and then New York in 1918, where he enjoyed a successful career as a concert pianist and part-time composer. He passed away on March 28, 1943 in Beverly Hills, California.
Sergei Rachmaninov is featured in Edition: Guest Editor, Stephan Breuer