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Carl Czerny 1791-1857

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Arnold1740-1802 Gluck1714-1787
Beethoven 1770-1827  
Boccherini1743-1805 Haydn1732-1809
Clementi1752-1832 Hummel1778-1837
Czerny1794-1857 Mozart1756-1791
Diabelli1781-1858 Rossini1792-1868
Dussek1760-1812 Schubert1797-1828
Field1782-1837 Weber1786-1826
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Carl Czerny was an Austrian pianist, composer and teacher. He most well known for his books of studies for the piano. He was influenced by his comtemporaries, Clementi and Hummel.


Carl Czerny was born in Vienna to a musical family of Czech origin. His grandfather was a violinist and his father was an oboist, organist, and pianist. His family came to Vienna from Nymburk, Bohemia and Carl himself didn't speak German until the age of ten. A child prodigy, Czerny began playing piano at age three and composing at age seven. His first piano teacher was his father, Wenzel Czerny, who taught him mainly music by Bach, Mozart, and Clementi. Czerny began performing piano recitals in his parents' home. Beethoven, attending one such recital, was so impressed with Czerny's performance of hisSonata Pathétique that he took on the 10 year old as a student. Czerny remained under Beethoven's tutelage for the next three years. Czerny went on to take lessons from Hummel and Antonio Salieri. Carl Czerny also attended courses which Muzio Clementi held in Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Prague, Rome and Milan.

Carl Czerny made his first public performance in 1800 playing Mozart's Piano Concerto in C minor, No. 24. However, he was never confident in his abilities as a performer and resolved to withdraw permanently from the stage.At age 21, in February 1812, he returned to the public to give the Vienna premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor".

At age fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility.

Perhaps his most famous student was Franz Liszt, who began studying with Czerny at age nine. Czerny was Lizst's only teacher. Upon taking him on as a student, Czerny forced Lizst to abandon all repertoire for the first few months, insisting Lizst play only scales and exercises to strengthen his technique.

As a concert pianist, Lizst went on to include several Czerny compositions in his repertoire. Liszt also dedicated his twelve Transcendental Etudes to Czerny, who was among the first composers to pioneer the "etude" form. Liszt also collaborated with Czerny on the Hexaméron; a joint work along with fellow composers Frédéric Chopin, Sigismond Thalberg, Henri Herz, and Johann Peter Pixis.

Czerny composed a very large number of pieces (up to Op. 861), including a number of masses and requiems, and a large number of symphonies, concertos, sonatas and string quartets. None of these pieces are played often today, however, and he is known as a composer almost exclusively because of the large number of didactic piano pieces he wrote, many of which are still used today, such as The School of Velocity and The Art of Finger Dexterity. He was one of the first composers to use étude ("study") for a title.

Czerny's published compositions number nearly 1,000 and include arrangements for eight pianos, four hands each, of two overtures of Gioachino Rossini. He also left an essay on performing the piano sonatas of Beethoven. He published an autobiographical sketch, Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben (1842; “Memories from My Life”).

Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life, giving piano lessons to Beethoven's beloved nephew Carl, and proofreading many of Beethoven's works before they were published.

Czerny remained in Vienna for most of his life, only leaving three times (he visited Leipzig in 1836, Paris and London in 1837, and Lombardy in 1846).Czerny died in Vienna at the age of 66. He never married and he had no near relatives.






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