Russian pianist, daughter of a Court councilor, and enthusiastic amateur musician; was born at St. Petersburg. Her father was her first teacher, and her next, Wielopolski. At fourteen she entered the Conservatory of St. Petersburg, where she became Leschetitzky s pupil. She was wilful as well as talented, playing much "by ear," but was subjected by the great teacher to strict discipline. During this period she was urged by Rubinstein to devote herself to vocal study, but Leschetitzky won, and took a most unusual interest in her. In 1876 to 1877 she took the prizes for pianoplaying and sight-reading at the Conservatory, but previous to this time, in 1874, had appeared in Vienna and London with remarkable success, playing at a Philharmonic concert in the latter city, and later at one of the Paris Concerts Populaires. After concert tours in Europe she came to America about 1877.
At the time of Essipof's marriage to her former teacher, Leschetitzky, in 1880, her reputation as a concert pianist was very great, and in the opinion of a number of critics she ranked second only to Liszt. In 1885 she received the appointment as Court pianist in Prussia. In 1893 she was separated from Leschetitzky, but they seemed to have continued friends, for that same year she became, through his influence, the successor of Stein as professor of piano at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, from which position she retired in 1900.
Madame Essipoffs teacher and husband took such an unparalleled interest in her that he gave up his own concert career to further her advancement, and even after their divorce and his remarriage, used his influence in her behalf. Madame Essipoff's playing was characterized by great technical ability and strong poetic feeling. Tschaikowsky wrote a concerto for her.