Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the greatest pianists of all time and one of the greatest melodists among composers, was born on March 20, 1873, in Oneg, near Novgorod, into a musical family: his grandfather was a student of John Field, and his father, too, was a pianist. Sergei's family had to sell the family estate when he was nine years old owing to financial problems, and they moved to St Petersburg, where he took piano lessons at the Conservatoire. Rachmaninoff's nephew, pianist, and conductor Alexander Siloti had trained in Moscow with Nikolai Zverev and proposed that Rachmaninoff follow in his footsteps. In 1885, Rachmaninoff traveled to Moscow and spent three years with Zverev. In 1888, Rachmaninoff started practicing piano with Siloti and composition with Sergei Taneyev and Anton Arensky and sought guidance from Tchaikovsky, Siloti's former tutor friend.
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