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Sergei RachmaninoffNo fool, this titan of the piano, both as a performer and as a composer, was born near Novgorod, Russia on April 1,1873. Considered one of the great piano virtuosos of any time, his melodies and rich orchestrations identified him as a late romanitc composer. He began his piano studies at the age of four, graduated from the Moscow Conservatory before he was 20, and left Russia with his family after the revolution in 1918 and came to the United States. His performing and conducting schedule seriously reduced the time he had for composition, creating just six works before his death in 1943, including the immensely popular Rapsody on a Theme by Paganini.

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