Influential Russian musician and teacher who had many famous pupils. He introduced the works of his contemporaries to the public.
He enrolled at the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he was a student of composition with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and learned piano with Fedor Stein.
He was a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre, where he gave the Russian premiere of the opera "Tristan und Isolde" by Richard Wagner.
He was pianist Heinrich Neuhaus's uncle and composer and pianist Karol Szymanowski's second uncle.
He taught Vladimir Horowitz in his master classes.