Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev was born near Moscow in 1856. He began taking piano lessons at age five, and when he was nine entered the Moscow Conservatory - he was later to study under Tchaikovsky.
He graduated in 1875, the first student in the history of the Conservatory to win the gold medal for both composition and performing (piano). He was also the first person ever to be awarded the Conservatory's Great Gold Medal.
Taneyev was an accomplished performer and composer, and Tchaikovsky came to respect his professional opinion above most others (even though his frank opinions sometimes hurt the sensitive genius!) He was the soloist in the first Moscow performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and he was to perform other Tchaikovsky works for piano and orchestra. His pupils included Rachmaninov.

Theme and Variations

The test piece for 2009 was Theme & Variations by Taneyev, a piano piece arranged for flute by PhillipWalton. The arranger actually composed the finale specifically for this contest.