The Kennedy Center

Muzio Clementi



Biography

Muzio Clementi was born in Rome, Italy and was educated in Italy, initially by his father.  He was taken to England in 1766 by a wealthy English traveler who had heard his organ playing and recognized his talent.  There he studied music for seven years while living at his patron’s estate.   He soon became known as one of the great piano virtuosos of his time.  He toured numerous times throughout Europe and while there entered a piano contest with Mozart in 1781.  He returned to London in 1782 and spent the rest of his life there except for concert tours of Europe as a conductor and composer.  His music compositions covered the late classical and early Romantic periods.
 
In 1798, he restarted a music publishing and piano manufacturing company.  At the same time, he taught many leading pianists in London.  He also held courses in Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Prague, Rome and Milan and taught many other famous pianists.  He amassed a fortune both by his gift for self-promotion and his talent as a teacher, composer and concert pianist.
 

He had an enormous influence on music for the piano.  He wrote primarily for the piano which included some 110-plus sonatas and other piano works.  He also taught keyboard techniques and developed a method which is still in use today. His series of etudes, Gradus ad Parnassum, a set of 100 diverse piano pieces, are especially well remembered.   In addition, he wrote several symphonies.  He was sometimes called “the father of modern piano technique” and the “father of Romantic pianistic virtuosity”.   Unfortunately, his fame diminished over the years and he has fallen into obscurity. 

Muzio Clementi