Glafira Alymova was the daughter of Colonel Ivan Akinfievich Alymov. She studied music at the Smolny Institute and on her graduation was decorated as one of its five best students (1776), and was made lady in waiting to the Empress Catherine the Great. She was married successively to the writer Alexei Rzhevskii, as his second wife, and to the translator Maskle. Mariya Svistunova was the eldest child and only daughter of the Rzhevskii family.
Glafira Alymova was regarded as one of the best harpists of her time. She was awarded the order of St Catherine by Empress Catherine.