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Сергей Иванович Танеев

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Сергей Иванович Танеев {Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev} (1856–1915) was a Russian composer, pianist, teacher of composition, music theorist, and author.

Taneyev was born on the 25th November 1856 in Vladimir, to a cultured and literary family of Russian nobility. A distant cousin, Alexander Taneyev, was also a composer, whose daughter, Anna Vyrubova, was highly influential at court. He began taking piano lessons at the age of five with a private teacher. His family moved to Moscow in 1865. The following year, the nine-year-old Taneyev entered the Moscow Conservatory. His first piano teacher at the Conservatory was Edward Langer. After a year’s interruption in his studies, Taneyev studied again with Langer. He also joined the theory class of Nikola Hubert and, most importantly, the composition class of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In 1871, Taneyev studied piano with the Conservatory’s founder, Nikolai Rubinstein.

Taneyev graduated in 1875, the first student in the history of the Conservatory to win the gold medal both for composition and for performing (piano). He was also the first person ever to be awarded the Conservatory’s Great Gold Medal; the second was Arseny Koreshchenko, and the third was Sergei Rachmaninoff. That summer he travelled abroad with Rubinstein. That year he also made his debut as a concert pianist in Moscow playing the first piano concerto in D minor of Johannes Brahms, and would become known for his interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. In March 1876 he toured Russia with violinist Leopold Auer.

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