May 1, 2024

About the Author: Arwen

Arwen is a keen piano enthusiast and loves the instrument. She is also a student of marketing and loves creative work!

Only a few get it right to create a name for themselves. Even less achieve a name so significant that people still speak of it long after they have passed.

Many pianists dared to achieve something so great and leave a legacy behind, and many failed. Yet, as of today, there are a bunch of pianists who are still quite popular in the music industry, even if they have passed.

I like to call them Music Legends.

The fact that they have helped shape music played with a piano, and the piano itself, to what it is today – How can you not call them legends?

Let’s take a look at some of the top pianists of their time:

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Beethoven is one of the most popular musicians ever. Born in Germany, he is recognised as one of the greatest composers of Western music in history. Yet his piano skills should not be overlooked.

He was still at a young age when his father taught him piano. Beethoven had quite the talent and later published his first composition by the age of 12! Furthermore, he continued to excel in his piano and composition skills.

Beethoven moved to Vienna and studied composition with Joseph Haydn– a virtuous composer of the Classical Period. Beethoven soon started taking lessons from Haydn. This helped Beethoven to grow and mature even more in his piano skills.

Although Beethoven was born in the classical period, his music style adapted the Romantic Period characteristics and elements, yet still kept a foothold on classical music.

Beethoven published 722 works over the span of his lifetime. Even after losing some of his hearing at a young age, Beethoven still managed to become an extraordinary pianist and truly an inspiration to all.

You most likely have heard some of his famous compositions including: Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, Pathetique Sonata and many more…

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896)

It was not ordinary for a woman of that time to have created an astounding name for themselves. Yet Clara did. Considering that during that time, women did not have some of the same privileges as men makes it even more astounding.

Clara grew up in Leipzig, where her mother started giving her piano lessons from the age of 4. Her father also taught her daily. She made her first debut performance when she was only nine years old! During that age, she met another talented pianist named Robert Schumann.

Robert was so moved by Clara’s playing that he even successfully asked his mother to stop studying law and rather pursue his dreams of playing piano.

Clara continued to perform as well as teach. Her performances became such a great hit that even Frederic Chopin was amazed by them.

Clara toured and performed over 1200 concerts in many different countries, creating a new standard for performances. She grew very close with Robert and ended up marrying Robert Schumann and took on many works together as a couple.

Some of her well-known compositions you might have heard are Piano Concerto in A minor, Piano Trio in G minor, Three Romances and many more…

Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849)

It is no secret as to why Chopin has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era. Many of his music pieces are still played today!

Chopin lived a very short life, yet he only lived until he was 39, and he still made the most of it. He wrote about 220 pieces, mainly for the piano.

Chopin was born in Poland during the late Classical Period in the 19th century. He completed his musical education before leaving Poland to settle in Paris. There, Chopin made ends meet by selling his compositions and giving piano lessons.

Unsurprisingly, there was quite a demand for it, and later, Chopin formed a close friendship with Franz Liszt- another renowned pianist.

Chopin composed many daring pieces, challenging himself to create works that go beyond the limits of the instrument. He accomplished many things in his life, like performing in front of Alexander I at the age of eleven, having his composition scored for a military band to play on a parade and many more.

Unfortunately, near the end of his life, his health started deteriorating, making it difficult to compose or perform. He made his last public appearance at a performance in London a year before his passing.

Chopin inspired and influenced many through his virtuosity, and invented the concept of instrumental ballade. Some of his famous compositions include Nocturnes, Preludes, Polonaise in A-flat major. These are only a few of the many works Chopin has published.

Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)

Perhaps one of the most influential composers of his era, Liszt was extremely virtuoso when it came to the piano. He was also the first to give complete solo recitals as a pianist and his works are still widely performed to this day.

Liszt was born a year after Chopin, 1811, in Hungary (Now known as Austria). He began to improvise while playing the piano, even from before the age of five! He was very talented at playing the piano and quickly gained his share of fame for his incredible piano skills.

Throughout his life, he composed piano pieces. He continued to receive piano lessons from exceptional teachers- one who had even been a student of Beethoven himself. Franz’s paths crossed with Claude Debussy, and they became close friends with Chopin.

Liszt was an excellent teacher, too. He taught many students piano performance, many of whom made their performances successful! Franz had an exceptional amount of influence during his era and left us with extraordinary compositions reminding us of Liszt’s virtuosity.

Some of his works are Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata in B minor, Hungarian Rhapsodies and many more.

These are only a few of the piano legends in history who will never be forgotten. Many try to make their claim to fame, and many fail.

Would you want to have a legacy to leave behind? They all started with a simple melody…

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