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Russian composer and pianist Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov was born in Yaroslavl on 30 November 1859, a younger brother of the mathematician Aleksandr Lyapunov. Sergei studied at the Moscow Conservatoire from 1878 with Sergei Taneyev and Karl Klindworth.
After graduation he moved to St Petersburg and came under the influence of Mily Balakirev. With Lyadov, Lyapunov and Balakirev collected Russian folksongs from several northern regions, commissioned by the Imperial Geographical Society. Lyapunov used some of this material in his own compositions.
He worked as assistant director of music at the Imperial Chapel, was head of the Free Music School and a professor at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, teaching piano and theory.
After the revolution, disliking the Soviet regime, he emigrated to Paris in 1923, where he died in exile on 8 November 1924. His output included the transcendental etude Lezghinka, a Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes and an orchestral transcription of Balakirev's Islamey.