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Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter (Святослав Рихтер; March 20, 1915 - August 1, 1997) was a Soviet pianist. Sviatoslav Richter was widely recognized as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. He was well known for his vast repertoire, effortless technique and poetic phrasing. Richter was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine but grew up in Odessa. Unusually, he was largely self-taught although his organist father provided him with a basic education in music. Even at an early age, Richter was an excellent sight-reader, and regularly practiced with local opera and ballet companies.