One of the greatest of pianists, born 20 March 1915* in Zhitomir (near Kiev, then in Russia), and died on 1 August 1997 in Moscow. His father Teofil was an organist and his mother Anna was related to the Swedish nightingale Jenny Lind. The family were of German origin. He grew up in Odessa, where his fellow students included David Oistrakh and Emil Gilels; his solo première was in Odessa in 1934, playing Chopin.

His Moscow début came in 1940, playing Prokofiev in the première of his Sonata No 6, and Prokofiev was so impressed that he continued to champion Richter, who also premièred Sonatas 7, 8, and 9. The last of these was dedicated to him.

He entered the Moscow Conservatoire in 1937 to study under Heinrich Neuhaus, won a national competition in 1945, graduated in 1947, and won the Stalin Prize in 1949. The West became acquainted with him in the 1960s, with débuts in Helsinki then in Chicago in 1960.

Richter was one of the founders of the Fêtes Musicales en Touraine in the French countryside at Meslay, near Tours. He continued to return to France for many years.

See for a much more detailed biography and appraisal of his style.

* Everyman's Dictionary of Music says 20 February 1914.

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