Liszt, Franz

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(1811-1886) a 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, teacher and Franciscan tertiary.


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Franz Liszt was one of the most celebrated composers of the 19th century. He was born on October 22, 1811 in Raiding, Hungary, and was the son of Adam Liszt, a prominent Hungarian lawyer, and Anna Lager, a talented pianist. He began his musical education at the age of six, when he began taking piano lessons from his father.

At the age of nine, Liszt made his first public appearance in Vienna, and he soon became a celebrated child prodigy. As a result, he was invited to perform at courts and salons throughout Europe, and he made his debut in Paris in 1823.

Liszt was especially gifted in improvisation and sight-reading, and he quickly became known as one of the greatest pianists of his time. He was also a prolific composer, writing symphonies, operas, chamber music, and over 1,000 songs.

In 1827 Liszt enrolled in the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition and music theory under the tutelage of composer and theorist Anton Reicha. He graduated with the highest honors in 1832.

In the mid-1830s, Liszt embarked on a series of international tours as a virtuoso pianist. His performances were legendary, and he soon became a celebrity. During this period, he also wrote some of his most important works, including the Piano Sonata in B minor and the Hungarian Rhapsodies.

In 1847, Liszt settled in Weimar, Germany, where he was appointed as the Kapellmeister of the Grand Ducal Court. During this period, he wrote some of his most important works, including the Faust and Dante symphonies and the opera Tannhäuser.

In 1861, Liszt retired from the concert stage and turned his attention to composition and teaching. Over the next few years, he wrote a number of important works, including the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, and the Faust Symphony.

In 1886, Franz Liszt died in Bayreuth, Germany. He was buried in the cemetery of the Abbey of Wihr-au-Val, and his grave is now a popular tourist attraction.

Today, Franz Liszt is remembered as one of the greatest composers of the 19th century. His works continue to be performed around the world, and he is credited with being one of the first composers to embrace the concept of program music. He was also a major influence on a number of later composers, including Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner, and Igor Stravinsky.

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