Celebrating the birth bicentenary of Hungarian composer and pianist Ferenc (Franz) Liszt, a Liszt Year 2011 event series will be officially launched on Saturday, the Day of Hungarian Culture, January 22, putting an outstanding music career in focus.
One of the most prominent composers of the 19th century and outstanding pianist Franz Liszt was born in 1811 in Doborján, today Raiding near the Austrian-Hungarian border.
Aged only nine, he gave his first public piano concerts in the cities of Sopron and Pozsony (now, Bratislava). Later, he moved with his family to Vienna where he took piano lessons among others from Carl Czerny, a student of Beethoven and caught the attention of Beethoven, himself at a public performance.
In 1823, he moved to Paris with his family, from where he travelled extensively to give concerts in prestigious halls across Europe and earn fame as a young musician. It was in Paris where he met Chopin to learn piano playing niceties. He also met Berlioz to fine-tune his conducting skills.
Liszt settled in Weimar in 1848 as Director of Music Extraordinary and turned his attention to composition and to the creation of a new form, the symphonic poem. There, he forged a lifelong friendship with Richard Wagner. He composed one of his famous piano pieces, Funerailles as he learnt about the suppression of Hungary's 1848/49 revolution against the Habsburgs.
He lived in Rome from 1861 to 1869 where he was conferred upon the religious tile, abbot. Liszt regularly returned to Weimar where he had several pupils and took up similar obligations in Budapest where he was considered as a national hero.
Between 1870 and 1886, until the year of his death, he shared his time living in Rome, Weimar and the Hungarian capital.
He died in Bayreuth, Germany in the summer of 1886 and was buried in the city.
Liszt was one of the most productive artists of his age, composing altogether 1,400 piano pieces, symphonies, symphonic compositions and masses. He also authored literary essays.
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