In the fall of 2009, Smith College marked the centennial
of pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s
first public performance in the United States, presented in what was then College Hall's
recital hall on November 4, 1909.
celebrated both Rachmaninoff and Sophie Satin, his cousin and sister-in-law, who played
an important role in the Smith College Genetics Experiment Station as research associate
to Albert Blakeslee beginning in 1942, and served as visiting associate professor of
botany from 1945 to 1955.
Between 1909 and
1941 Rachmaninoff gave four concerts at the college, and Sophie Satin’s
reminiscences constitute a principal source for all subsequent biographies of the celebrated
composer and performer.