Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born in Water Rooster - Kuei Yu Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

April 1, 1873 was the birth date of Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff is one of the finest pianists, composers and Russian Romanticism representatives of all time. Rachmaninoff had an expressive technique and used rich orchestral background with piano as the main instrument. At the age of ten, Rachmaninoff began piano lessons and was introduced to liturgical chants and church bells. These themes were later used in many of Rachmaninoff?€™s compositions. He attended the Moscow Conservator, graduated with honors and composed Piano Concerto No. 1, Youth Symphony, Prince Rostislav, The Rock and a fantasia for the orchestra. Rachmaninoff composed Aleko which was an opera based on The Gypsies by Alexander Puskin. The opera was so successful it became one of the productions done by the Bolshoi Theater. He won a Great Gold Medal with this composition. In 1893 the death of Tchaikovsky inspired Rachmaninoff to write Trio elegiaque in memory of Tchaikovsky. His First Symphony premiered in 1897 and was highly criticized as too dark and too little technique. This caused Rachmaninoff to fall into a three-year depression. 1901 found Rachmaninoff?€™s piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 enthusiastically received with Rachmaninoff as a soloist. It is now one of the most frequently played concertos in Rachmaninoff?€™s portfolio. This same year and the next proved to be happy for Rachmaninoff. He married his finance of three years Natalia and they had two daughters. Rachmaninoff traveled to the U.S. in 1918 and was offered a piano from Steinway. He played 40 concerts in four months. He only composed six musical pieces between the years 1918 and 1943. He was continually traveling and performing in concerts to support his family. He composed Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Symphony No. 3 and the Symphonic Dances. Rachmaninoff became ill in late 1942 and was diagnosed with melanoma. He passed away on March 28, 1943 in California four days before he turned 70.
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