All About

Past Masters

A History of the Great Piano Teachers
Haydn and Mozart

In a biography of Mozart written just seven years after his death, his widow Constanza was quoted as saying her husband often "called Haydn his teacher". This was merely a compliment to his predecessor and not intended literally as Mozart had no teacher but his father, Leopold. Who else could presume?

Haydn Teaches Beethoven

A highly imaginative portrayal of Haydn giving Beethoven a piano lesson. Beethoven reluctantly admitted that Haydn had been his teacher, but “only in the sense that I attended lessons with him, not in the sense that he ever taught me anything”.

Beethoven and Mozart

Count Waldstein's entry in Beethoven's album, written in 1792 as the young composer left Bonn for Vienna, famously promised him that, “You will receive the spirit of Mozart from the hands of Haydn.”

Carl Czerny

Beethoven taught Carl Czerny who went on to write thousands of finger-crunching and brain-numbing exercises which are still in print and still taught to this day, invariably with less than successful results.

Czerny Introduces Liszt to Beethoven

Czerny, however, was honoured to have at least one natural genius for a pupil – the child prodigy Franz Liszt when he arrived in Vienna from the Hungarian estates of the Esterhaazys. Czerny immediately brought the 12-year- old to play for Beethoven.

Franz List

Franz Liszt went on to teach half the pianists of Europe, many of whom only went for a lesson or two so they could set up as teachers advertising themselves as "Pupil of Liszt's". He has descendents teaching and performing to this day.

Chopin Piano Lesson and Memorial

Meanwhile Chopin taught most of the Parisian and Polish expatriate aristocracy, his list of pupils reading like Don Giovanni's catalogue: Contesse, Baronesse, Marchesine, Principesse. This is the memorial over his Pere-Lachaise Cemetery grave in Paris, sculpted by George Sand's daughter's
husband, Clesinger.

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