Leo Sirota was born near Kiev, Russia in 1885. A child prodigy who toured Russia at the age of 9, Sirota studied under Busoni beginning in 1907. He toured extensively throughout Europe and later was the head of the piano deparment at the Imperial Academy in Tokyo, remaining there until 1946. Sirota eventually settled in the U.S. and became artist-in-residence at the St. Louis Institute of music. He returned to Japan in 1963 for a series of concerts. He died on February 24, 1965.