Leo Sirota (1885-1965), outstanding Ukrainian-born pianist and teacher, studied in St. Petersburg with Alexander Glazounov and later in Berlin with Ferruccio Busoni. Sirota played Busoni's massive Concerto under the composer's baton and soon established a firm reputation in the major cities of Europe. He also performed in Soviet Russia. Following a trip to Japan in 1928, Sirota was offered the directorship of the Ueno Imperial Academy in Tokyo. The Sirota family settled in Japan and Leo was much sought-after as both recitalist and teacher. During this period Sirota made recordings for Japanese Columbia, including the first complete recording of Stravinsky's Three Scenes from Petrouchka. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Sirota was exiled to a village where he and his wife faced daily hardships and lived without a piano. After 1945 Sirota moved to the United States and became artist-in-residence at the St. Louis Institute of Music. He remained there for nearly 20 years, continuing his concert activity and making an extensive series of radio broadcasts. In 1963 Sirota returned to Japan for a series of concerts, where he was warmly acclaimed by that country's musical community and was reunited with several of his former pupils, such as Takahiro Sonoda.
As of 2013, IPAM's Sirota Collection contains his commercial and privately-made recordings and selected documentation on his concert activity.