For years, brilliant composers have provided entertainment to the masses, creating beautiful music that is used as background to many of life’s big events. As musicians seek to learn their trade, they are urged to spend a large amount of time studying the greats. Through understanding their history, as well as listening to their music, modern-day composers can learn and grow in their own musical efforts.
While there are many great musical composers whose work was created for the piano, several throughout history stand out. The following composers are among the most revered piano composers of all time for a reason.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach is known for touching the world with his music without leaving his home country of Germany. Bach was born into a family of musicians, including professional court chamber musicians and a well-known composer and violinist, Johann Ludwig Bach. He began earning a reputation as a talented musician while providing music for religious services and teaching others to play. Many consider Bach to be the greatest musical composer of all time. Bach was shown an early version of what would become the piano during his lifetime, but it was still a novelty during his lifetime, which means the classics many pianists play on pianos today were actually created for the organ or harpsichord.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven’s musical beginnings were less than auspicious, with his alcoholic father reportedly forcing him to play for hours, punishing him for making errors. Despite these abusive beginnings, Beethoven continued to play into adulthood, creating some of the most iconic works of our time. At the age of ten, he left school to study music with the court organist and a few years later, he accepted an appointment as court organist. A longtime battle with hearing loss led him to eventually become reclusive and, in his final years, he had trouble performing in concert, although he continued to create some of today’s best-known compositions.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Like many famous composers, Mozart began at a very young age, performing for public audiences by the age of six. While working as an assistant concertmaster for the archbishop, he composed music in a variety of genres, creating symphonies, sonatas, operas, and more. He began composing for the piano in 1776, creating the Piano Concerto Number 9 in E Flat Major at the age of 21. His opera, Die Entführung, brought him fame throughout Europe, and his more than 600 compositions have lived on long after his death.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Johannes Brahms is often grouped with fellow musicians Bach and Beethoven as the “Three Bs” of classical music. During his lifetime, Brahms was revered as one of the best composers of his time, with his notable perfectionism leading him to destroy some of his compositions before they were ever published. Today, he is considered an innovator in music composition, with his works serving as the staple of many operas and concert performances today.
By learning about the masters of musical composition, both pianists and their audiences can grow a greater appreciation for the songs they hear. These musical geniuses have legacies that have continued long after their deaths, serving as a great example to generations of new musicians and classical music fans.
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