The A-Z of the piano

We celebrate the world's most popular instrument with a look at 26 of its greatest features

is for Liszt and Leschetizky: their Legacy

Beethoven taught Czerny, and Czerny taught both Franz Liszt (1811-86) and Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915), the two most influential piano teachers of the 19th century. Liszt, the supreme pianist of the era, never charged for lessons. Hundreds of wannabes flocked to wherever he happened to be living in order to study with him, from the short-lived Carl Tausig (1841-71), said to be the greatest of all Liszt’s pupils, to his last-surviving student, Frederic Lamond (1868-1948). Many of them left recordings, including Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946) who described Liszt as ‘more wonderful than any person I have ever known’.

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A generation later, Leschetizky taught a remarkably disparate string of great artists, the most successful of whom was Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), the Lang Lang of his day. Later came Artur Schnabel (1882-1951), Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948) and Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963). His secret? ‘He had a different method for each pupil,’ wrote one alumnus. ‘[His] method [was] to have no fixed method.’

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