Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Naoko Takao

Second Committee Member

Santiago E. Rodriguez

Third Committee Member

Tian Ying

Fourth Committee Member

Alan O. Johnson


Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was one of the greatest virtuoso pianists, composers, and conductors of the first half of the twentieth century. Transcriptions for piano solo hold a very special place in Rachmaninoff’s compositional output. The purpose of this study is to help performers develop careful and thoughtful interpretation, as well as to gain a deeper knowledge of important stylistic aspects found in these works. First, the study identifies the essential compositional aspects in Rachmaninoff’s transcriptions that are pertinent to composer’s style to further determine their interpretational implications. Then, these aspects are examined through the specific musical examples in order to describe the particular pianistic means necessary for successful interpretation. Additionally, an examination of Rachmaninoff’s own recordings, as well as those of Jorge Bolet and Benno Moiseiwitsch, provides an invaluable insight into the wealth of appropriate interpretational choices for each selected example and the performance tradition of the works. The study is supplemented by the author’s own recording of the complete set of Rachmaninoff’s transcriptions for piano solo.


Rachmaninoff; Rachmaninov; transcription; piano; interpretation; performer