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Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff was born on April 1 1873 at the family estate in Oneg deep in the Nogorod countryside His parents were Lubov Boutakov and Vasily Rachmaninoff His father Vasily was an ex-officer in the Russian army He had two elder sisters Elena and Sophia and an older brother named Vladimir He had two younger siblings which joined the Rachmaninoff family a girl named Varvara and a boy called Arkady Varvara died when she was just a babyMusic was an important part of the Rachmaninoff family tradition His father and his grandfaher had both played the piano Alexander Siloti Rachmaninoffs cousin was already an acomplished pianist and was becoming popular by the time Rachmaninoff was born Sergei was six years of age when he had his first piano lesson from Anna Ornatsky She was from the St Petersburn Conservatory Rachmaninoff seemed to have a natural ability at the piano Anna recommended that he receive a scholarship at the St Petersburn Conservatory in 1881He was but 9 years old when he began his formal lessons at the Conservatory During the next few years he would skip his classes to play games and train hop which would eventually result in failure at school By this time circumstances at home had left Lubov and the children with next to nothing because Vasily had pissed away all of the families earnings With no money and the school threatening to expell her son from the St Petersburg Conservatory Lubov turned to her cousin Alexander Siloti They made an arrangement that Sergei could continue to study at the Conservatory at which point the family moved to Moscow There Sergei became a student of Nikolai Zverev Nikolai was known throughout the country as both a teacher and a diciplinarian Hard daily schedules of long practice sessions soon helped Rachmaninoff settle down and become focused Over a period of time the dicipline began to pay off as their
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