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Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He 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.
Rachmaninoff was born into a wealthy family in Semyonovo, near Novgorod, Russia. He began studying music at a young age, and by the time he was 15 he was composing his own pieces. In 1885, he entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied piano with Nikolai Zverev and composition with Anton Rubinstein.
Rachmaninoff graduated from the Conservatory in 1892 with a gold medal. He immediately began a successful career as a pianist, touring all over Europe and the United States. He also began to compose, and his first major work, the Piano Concerto No. 2, was premiered in 1892. The concerto was a success, and it helped to establish Rachmaninoff as one of the leading composers of his generation.
In 1893, Rachmaninoff married Natalia Satina. The couple had two daughters, Tatiana and Irina.
In 1895, Rachmaninoff suffered a nervous breakdown. He stopped composing and performing for several years. He eventually recovered, and in 1900 he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 3. The concerto was a huge success, and it helped to revive Rachmaninoff's career.
Rachmaninoff continued to compose and perform throughout his life. He wrote a large body of work, including 13 symphonic works, 3 operas, 15 piano concertos, and numerous chamber music pieces. He also wrote a number of songs and piano pieces.
Rachmaninoff left Russia in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. He settled in the United States, where he continued to compose and perform. He died in Beverly Hills, California, in 1943.
Rachmaninoff's music is characterized by its beauty, its emotional intensity, and its technical virtuosity. He was a master of melody, harmony, and orchestration. His music is often described as Romantic, but it also has elements of Impressionism and Expressionism.
Rachmaninoff's music is still performed and enjoyed by audiences around the world. He is considered one of the greatest composers of all time, and his work continues to inspire and entertain.