When we talk about the best pianists in history, we cannot miss Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, excellent classical musicians who have left us a great legacy. In addition, these artists inspired other piano players such as Martha Argerich from Argentina, Claudio Arrau from Chile, Mitsuko Uchida from Japan and the Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
Music is one of the most outstanding arts and the piano is one of the best instruments that man has created. Thanks to the piano, many artists have become known, so this time we decided to create a top with the 10 best pianists of all time.
1. Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven is considered the best pianist in the world. His compositions remain today some of the most acclaimed works among pianists and the world in general. For example, he composed 35 piano sonatas, which are currently used in various academies and universities. In fact he was also the composer of 9 symphonies, the fifth being one of the most famous.
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Mozart is one of the great pianists in history and his ability to compose classical music has not been surpassed by anyone to this day. Furthermore, he is one of the most influential musicians in the entire history of music, and he is still considered a prodigy. In the same way, among classical pianists, Mozart stands out a lot, since he left us many works, including 27 piano concertos, 23 operas, 66 arias, 49 symphonies, 20 masses, etc.
3. Frederic Chopin (1810 – 1849)
Frédéric Chopin was one of the piano virtuosos. Likewise, he is still considered one of the greatest representatives of musical romanticism. Furthermore, Chopin excelled in technical perfection and his full range of nuances from him. Among his works we can mention Fantaisie Impromptu (op. 66) and Nocturnes (Op. 9) and Polonaise (op. 53).
4. Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943)
Sergei was one of the famous pianists of the 20th century, due to his rhythmic mastery, technical ease, and incredible ability to play complex compositions just by listening to them. Likewise, this pianist was characterized by having very large hands, which allowed him to play the piano more easily. In the same way, you should know that he was a student of outstanding musicians like Franz Liszt and Piotr Tchaikovsky, so he had a good academic training. Also, Sergei was a composer, managing to write 5 works for piano.
5. Claudio Arrau (1903 – 1991)
Claudio Arrau is considered one of the most important pianists of the 20th century and the first great pianist of South America . He was a child prodigy , since at only 3 years old he read sheet music and at 5 years old he gave his first recital in Chillán, his hometown. Some time later, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, where he was a student of Martin Krause, one of the last disciples of the virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt.
6. Mitsuko Uchida (1948 – present)
Mitsuko Uchida is a Japanese pianist, interpreter of the works of Chopin, Schubert, Mozart, Debussy, Schoenberg and Beethoven. She has won important awards and honors, including her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009, as well as a Grammy Award in 2011. She This pianist studied in Vienna and gave her first recital when she was 14 years old.. She has also performed with important orchestras and has a wide musical repertoire recorded through different record labels. In addition, since 2013 she is the Artistic Director of the renowned Marlboro Festival.
7. Lang Lang (1982 – present)
Lang Lang is a great pianist of Chinese origin, and like Mitsuko, he is considered one of the most important contemporary pianists. He has performed with famous orchestras from China, the United States and Europe. Likewise, he has performed with the renowned Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Similarly, Lang Lang was the first Chinese pianist to be hired by major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and some of the most prominent orchestras in the United States. Also, in 2014 he performed with the band Metallica at the Grammy Awards.
8. Art Tatum (1909-1956)
Without a doubt, Art Tatum was one of the best jazz pianists. Although he had vision problems from his birth, that didn’t stop him at the age of 6 from playing songs by ear that were meant to be played by two performers. Also, in the 1930s this pianist marked the guidelines that would later be explored by Bebop musicians. In addition, he was characterized by making his recordings by himself, without other musicians, since it was difficult for them to follow his harmonic changes and fast tempo.
9. Martha Argerich (1941 – present)
Argentinian Martha Argerich, one of the most important female pianists, could not be missing from this list. She has played various works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sergei Prokofiev, Frédéric Chopin, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt. Similarly, we mention that in 1965 she won the first prize in the Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition. Also, in 2000 she won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra Accompaniment.
10. Maria João Pires (1944 – present)
Among contemporary pianists, the talented María João Pires stands out, who gave her first recital at the age of 5 and at 7 she played Mozart’s piano concertos in public. Also, at the age of 9 she received the award of the Portuguese Musical Youth. Likewise, we mention that this virtuoso pianist has performed works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Sebastian Bach and Frédéric Chopin. In the same way, she won the Beethoven Bicentennial competition and since then she has been regularly invited by important orchestras all over the world.
If you want to learn to play this beautiful instrument, we recommend you buy a Yamaha piano and start your classes now. Perhaps in the future you will become a renowned pianist like the ones we describe today in this list.