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Muzio Clementi

Muzio Clementi

Muzio Clementi (24 January 1752, Rome – 10 March 1832, Evesham, Worcestershire, England) was a celebrated English, of Italian birth, classical composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. He is credited with being the first to write specifically for the piano. He is best known for his piano sonatas, sonatinas, and his collection of piano studies, Gradus ad Parnassum. Nineteenth century enthusiasts called Clementi "the father of the pianoforte", "father of modern piano technique", "father of Romantic pianistic virtuosity", etc., judgments which have become overshadowed as Clementi has slipped into obscurity. In his day, the European reputation of Muzio Clementi was second only to Joseph Haydn as a symphonist. Unlike his celebrated contemporaries, however, the Italian composer wrote primarily for the piano, as reflected in his catalogue of 110-plus sonatas and other piano works. His first teacher was his father and then Sir Peter Beckford, a wealthy English voyager. He was influenced by Domenico Scarlatti's harpsichord school, by Haydn's classical school and by the stile galante of Johann Christian Bach. He soon became known as one of the great piano virtuosi, touring numerous times from London — where he had lived for many years — throughout Europe. He taught keyboard technique, and developed a piano method still in use today. Esteemed as a teacher, his students included some of the leading lights of the day — John Field, Johann Baptist Cramer, Ignaz Moscheles, and so on. Many others, including Giacomo Meyerbeer, Friedrich Wilhelm Kalkbrenner, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Carl Czerny, attended courses which he held in Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Prague, Rome and Milan. Clementi not only produced his own brand of pianos but was also a music publisher. It was thanks to this activity that many compositions by contemporary (and earlier) artists have stayed in the repertory. His genius for self-promotion, as well as a considerable talent as a composer, made Clementi sought after by the aristocrats of his day.

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