Piano4Life TM . . . talent for a lifetime!
HOME                 CONTACT             STUDENTS             COMPOSERS               LINKS               STUDIO             FAQ

"I wouldn't be a pianist today if my
mother hadn't made me practice."

- Andre Watts (1946-present), pianist, recording artist. As a
boy he was inspired by his mother's stories of Franz Liszt.

"To leave the piano... it is like a day of

- Franz Liszt (1811-1886), pianist, composer, preeminent
virtuoso of the 19th century. He dedicated his Transcendental
to his legendary teacher, Carl Czerny.

"A teacher, a guide who helps you unfold
and develop is absolutely necessary.
That teacher has to be right for you."

- Claudio Arrau (1903-1991), was performing 50 concerts a year
into his 80s. At age 11 he performed Liszt's Transcendental
, twelve of the most difficult piano pieces written.

"I play the notes as they are written,
but it is God who makes the music."

- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), organist, prodigious
composer of over 20,000 works of music.

"To play without passion is inexcusable!"

- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), pianist, composer,
acclaimed as the greatest composer to have lived.

"Learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts."

- Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) seminal composer, pioneered
the symphony and quartet. Beethoven's teacher.

"The problem in this country is that
people are not taught how to be their
own teachers."

- Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989), pianist, gained fame as one of the
leading piano virtuosos of the 20th century.

"You have no idea of how it feels to hear
a giant's footsteps behind you!"

- Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), composer and pianist, speaking
in 1870 on the enduring influence of Beethoven.

"There is music in the air, all around;
you simply take as much as you require."

- Edward Elgar (1857-1934), English composer of "Pomp and Circumstance".

"Music is a higher revelation than all
wisdom and philosophy."

- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), pianist, composer,
acclaimed as the greatest composer to have lived.

"It is not willpower, but fantasy-
imagination that creates. Imagination
creates reality."

- Richard Wagner (1813-1883), composer and creator of "total artwork" music dramas, or epic operas.

"When a man is in despair, it means
that he still believes in something."

- Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), composer who was twice denounced by the communist authorities.

"A concert is like a bullfight – the
moment of truth."

- Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982), pianist with a photographic
memory, he was fluent in eight languages and performed
professionally for seventy years.

"I don't choose what I compose. It
chooses me."

- Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) influential composer of the late-Romantic / early-Modernist era.

"Wait until you hear Richter!"

- Emil Gilels (1916-1985), one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, upon completing his U.S. tour, he baited the adoring
press to wait for his fellow country-man, Sviatoslav Richter.

"I noticed my eyes growing moist;
tears began rolling down my cheeks."

- Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982), commenting upon his reaction
to hearing the great Sviatoslav Richter perform.

"It (Richter's recital) was the most
powerful piano playing I have ever

- Van Cliburn (1934-present), American pianist whose first place
in 1958 at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, at
age 23, made him an international celebrity.

"To send light into the darkness of men's
hearts – such is the duty of the artist."

- Robert Schumann (1810-1856), composed extensively for piano,
his is a tragic biography lifted by the genius of his music.

"I adore art... when I am alone with my
notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes."

- Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Romantic composer whose
operas are widely performed today.

"There are currents of Divine
Thought vibrating the ether and
any who can feel these is inspired.

- Richard Wagner (1813-1883), composer and creator of "total artwork" music dramas, or epic operas.

"When I gaze at a sunset sky, an
extraordinary emotion overwhelms me.

- Claude Debussy (1862-1918), French composer who revered
nature and greatly influenced the music of the 20th century.

"Music is as much a part of my living
as breathing and eating. I compose
music because I must."

- Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), a Titan of 20th century music, both as a virtuoso pianist and composer of essential piano repertoire.

"...suddenly I saw arising from my piano
those creatures which had appeared to
me once before."

- Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), the penultimate pianistic genius, recalling an encounter with apparitions arising from his piano.

"Truly there would be reason to go mad
were it not for music."

- Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), eminent Romantic composer
of ballet, concerti and symphonies.

Ludwig van Beethoven
The legendary Beethoven is hailed as the greatest composer ever. His
is a dramatic and inspiring biography: his genius, his deafness, his
musical passion. Beethoven's symphonies are sublime. He essentially
invented piano performance and revealed the wonder of this new instrument.
Clementi was first to write for the piano, but Beethoven was its master.
The last Classical and first Romantic composer - he is the greatest of giants.

Frederic Chopin
"The poet of the piano." Chopin's piano legacy remains unsurpassed.
He perfected the ballade, nocturne, mazurka and polonaise forms. He
composed two polonaises at the age of 7. By age 19 he was considered
a Master. He has no equal in piano composition - Chopin is revered by
pianists. After he died of tuberculosis at age 39, his heart was entombed
in his native Poland, and Polish soil sprinkled over his grave in France.

Franz Liszt
Awe-inspiring virtuoso regarded as the greatest pianist ever. He practiced
up to 14 hours per day. His performances were legendary. He was very
generous devoting much of his life to charitable causes. Liszt was a gifted
composer whose orchestral and piano works inspired and inflamed. He
was highly influential in the Late Romantic and Impressionist schools.
Liszt is a Titan - an archetype of Performer and Composer.

Carl Czerny
The "father of piano pedagogy". At age 10 he was Beethoven's student.
By age 15, he was himself already a sought-after teacher. Czerny gave
up the life of a touring virtuoso to dedicate himself to teaching. Franz
Liszt was his most famous student. His études have been studied by
generations of the world's greatest pianists. He composed over 1000
works. Czerny was Beethoven's proofreader and remained a lifelong friend.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The most celebrated child prodigy, son of Leopold Mozart, also a famous
composer, W.A. Mozart began composing minuets at age 5 and wrote his
first symphony at age 9. His operas were ground-breaking. He composed
quickly, writing his final three symphonies in one summer. He lost favor
with the fickle Viennese aristocracy and struggled to pay his debts.
He died impoverished and was buried in Vienna in an unmarked grave.

Johann Sebastian Bach
The "king of the organ" grew up inside them, repairing giant church
organs as a boy. He composed more than 20,000 pieces, writing an hour
of music every week for a twenty-year period. His sons C.P.E. and J.C.
became famous composers. Bach's works were revived in the 19th century
by Mendelssohn. Chopin greatly admired him, too. Beethoven called him
"the original father of harmony". Modern music begins with J.S. Bach.

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Esteemed by many as the greatest composer of the 20th century, he
was also a celebrated virtuoso and conductor. He achieved international
fame as a composer while still a teenager. He fled the 1917 Russian
revolution carrying his unfinished scores. In the U.S.A. he toured as a
pianist but wrote little until his inspiration returned after building a Summer
home in Switzerland that reminded him of Russia. Rachmaninoff is a giant.

Edvard Grieg
Norway's most famous son remains a favorite composer today. His
music was inspired by fantasy and folklore. Liszt and Tchaikovsky
were admirers. When Grieg was 26, he wrote his Concerto in
A-minor, an enduring masterwork of the Romantic era. "Peer Gynt"
and "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" are also favorites. He is entombed
in a mountainside. His last words were, "Well, if it must be so."

Dmitri Shostakovich
One of the most influential composers of the 20th century along with
Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Scribin. He began his career as a pianist
but his genius as a composer lead him to concentrated on writing. He
lived through the upheavel of the post-revolution and Stalinist periods in
Russia. Twice denounced by Soviet authorities, his overwhelming talent
protected him. He was the last of the creators of great piano repertoire.

Richard Wagner
It is impossible to overstate the influence of Wagner. When he died,
over 10,000 books and articles had already been written about him.
Wagner re-defined opera and theater, creating Gesamtkunstwerk
("total artwork"), synthesizing poetic, musical and dramatic arts. To
stage his four-opera cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen", he built his
own opera house. Wagner was - and remains - larger than life.

Jean Sibelius
Finland's hero, he was granted a lifetime pension at age 32 to devote
his life to music. He wrote seven symphonies, each a monument to his
genius. One of the last great composers of grand symphonies, he bridged
the period from the Late Romantic era to the Modern. He was inspired by
nature, Finnish nationalism and mythology. He was married for 64 years.
Of critics he said, "No statue has ever been put up to a critic."

Franz Schubert
A true Romantic figure, Schubert died young and was not well-known
in his lifetime. Liszt, Schumann and Mendelssohn later championed
his works. As a boy, he had been taught by the great Antonio Salieri,
the emperor's musical director who had also taught the young Beethoven.
Many of Schubert's works were first performed decades after his death.
There is a quality to Schubert's work that few composers have matched.

Sergei Prokofiev
One of the greatest composers of the 20th century, he wrote his first
opera at age 9. He was a virtuoso pianist, acclaimed conductor and
passionate about chess. He wrote symphonies, concerti, film scores,
operas and ballets. In 1918 he left Russia for the USA and Europe. As
his reputation grew, so did his longing for his motherland. He moved to
Russia in 1936 and composed until his passing. His legacy is enduring.

Johann Strauss II
Son of Johann Strauss I, also a famous composer of dance music,
Johann the younger was hailed as "The Waltz King" and was toasted
in ballrooms across Europe and America. He wrote over 500 dances.
"The Blue Danube" is his most famous waltz - he once conducted a
performance of it with over 1000 musicians. Strauss made the world
dance. His brothers Josef and Eduard were composers, too.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
One of the most popular Romantic composers, Tchaikovsky's "Romeo
and Juliet" gained him fame at age 28. His ballets "Swan Lake",
"Sleeping Beauty", "The Nutcracker", his famous First Piano Concerto,
six symphonies, ten operas and over 100 piano works are some of the
most recognizable today. The beauty of his music is inspirational. He
was a mentor to many younger composers. Tchaikovsky is forever loved.

Antonio Vivaldi
Venetian composer who helped lead the way from the Baroque to
the Classical era along with Bach and Handel. "The Four Seasons"
is his most enduring work. His music largely disappeared after his
death and was rarely played in the 19th century. That changed after
a trove of 400 of his works was discovered in 1926. Today his music
is regularly heard. A 'new' Vivaldi opera was recently found in 2006.

Sviatoslav Richter
The greatest pianist of the 20th century, his playing brought tears to
the eyes of Cliburn and Rubinstein. His memory was legendary; his
repertoire included over 100 sonatas. He was a self-taught genius who
became an enigmatic celebrity. The great Russian teacher H. Neuhaus
confessed that he had nothing to teach him. Richter first toured the
U.S. in 1960. A competition in his honor is held annually in Moscow.

Claude Debussy
Influential French composer who straddled the Romantic-to-Modern
eras. Innovative, expressionist, symbolistic are terms applied to him.
He entered the Paris Conservatoire at age 10. He rebelled against the
old rules of making music and was influenced by Liszt, Wagner,
Mussorgsky and the Russian school. Debussy's is a unique, highly-
impressionistic style whose influence is heard in many later composers.

© Piano4Life, 2009-2014, Piano4Life - Lifetime talent starts today! Piano4Life is a registered trademark.