b Vikhvatinets, Russia, 28 November 1829
d Peterhof, 20 November 1894, aged sixty-four
His early piano lessons were from his mother. His first public concert was in 1839, when he was ten years old, and from 1840 to 1843 he toured Europe as a child virtuoso- to Paris (where he met Chopin and Liszt), the Netherlands, London (where he was received by Queen Victoria), Norway, Sweden, Germany and Russia. He spent two years in poverty in Vienna from 1846 to 1848; then he was adopted by a Russian Grand Duchess. His professional concert career started in 1854, and he became one of the world's greatest pianists. In 1859 he and the Duchess founded the Russian Musical Society and, in 1862, the St Petersburg Conservatory, of which he was director until 1867. He made another world tour as a pianist, returning in 1887 to direct the Conservatory again.
He wrote: twenty operas; choral and chamber works; six symphonies; five piano concertos; two cello concertos, one violin concerto; other orchestra works and a great many piano works and songs, few of which have survived.