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Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a personal style notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument. The Rachmaninoff family, of Russian and distant Moldavian descent, was part of the Russian aristocracy, having been in the service of the Russian tsars since the 16th century, and had strong musical and military leanings. The composer's father, Vasily Arkadyevich Rachmaninoff, an amateur pianist and army officer, married Lyubov Petrovna Butakova, gained five estates as a dowry, and had three boys and three girls. Sergei was born on 1 April 1873 at the estate of Semyonovo, in Oneg, near Great Novgorod in north-western Russia. When he was four, his mother gave him casual piano lessons, but it was his paternal grandfather, Arkady Alexandrovich, who brought Anna Ornatskaya, a teacher from Saint Petersburg, to teach Sergei in 1882....
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