Sergei Rachmaninoff

Fun Facts

  • Rachmaninoff was a brilliant pianist, conductor and composer.

  • Recognizing her four-year-old son's talent, Rachmaninoff's mother arranged for him to have music lessons.

  • When he was eighteen, Rachmaninoff rose to fame with his first Piano Concerto.

  • Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 is often described as the greatest ever written.

  • Although it wasn't permitted in Russia, Rachmaninoff married his first cousin, Natalya.

  • With perhaps the largest hands in classical music history, Rachmaninoff could span an octave and a half on the piano.

  • Rachmaninoff had a house built in Los Angeles that was an exact replica of his original Moscow home.

  • A tall, sometimes severe-looking man, Rachmaninoff seldom smiled in photographs, and was once dubbed a "six-foot scowl."

  • Rachmaninoff died from lung cancer after a lifetime of heavy smoking.

  • Rachmaninoff loved automobiles, kept a speedboat, and adored New York’s ice cream sodas.

  • Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is deemed one of the most technically challenging concertos in the classical repertoire.

  • Rachmaninoff defined himself as the last Romantic composer.

  • Although known mostly for his piano compositions, Rachmaninoff also wrote some magnificent choral music.

  • After the poor reception of his Symphony No. 1, Rachmaninoff fell into a deep depression which lasted for three years. 

  • Rachmaninoff was sociable, friendly, and had a wide circle of friends.

  • Rachmaninoff wrote a set of preludes in all 24 major and minor keys.

  • The Rachmaninoff family left Russia permanently following the Russian Revolution, eventually settling in the United States.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Rachmaninoff.

Works Catalog

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Biography

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