The Russian pianist Svjatoslav Richter is now regarded as one of the most outstanding artists of the present day. He was born in 1915 at Zhitomir in the Ukraine, the son of a musical family of German extraction. His father, who had been trained at the Vienna Conservatoire, was a highly regarded pianist and music teacher, who also did some composing; his mother was a gifted amateur musician. The artistic atmosphere of the family house had a decisive influence on the development of the brilliant boy, who was an excellent pianist by the time he had reached the age of eight. Ten years later he gave his first piano recital in Odessa, where he worked for a time as a chorus repetiteur. At the age of 22, he went to Moscow, where he completed his training under one of Russia's foremost piano teachers, Heinrich Neuhaus. For many years, Richter confined his activities as a piano soloist to Russia and eastern Europe. In 1959, however, he traveled by way of Helsinki to western Europe, where a few recordings had already made his name a legend. His concerts in the western world were sensational successes whose repercussions were felt for months afterwards, and he celebrated his greatest triumphs of all during his tour of the U.S.A. in 1960, traveling right across the continent to Los Angeles and San Francisco.