The Legacy of a Genius
Franz Liszt (or as Hungarians call him Liszt Ferenc) is a real icon in the music world. He was the most important composer of the 19th century, and he is considered one of the greatest pianists of all time.
Born in 1811, the composer was a child genius, as he was giving professional piano performances at the age of 9 in numerous cities of Hungary and Austria. Liszt started his career in aristocratic saloons and public concert halls. He lived in many different countries in the first 30 years of his life, from France, to Switzerland and Italy. Many years after leaving his homeland, his patriotism was brought forth by the devastating great flood of 1838. This was the most severe natural disaster that affected the city, and it left hundreds of families without homes and damaged several important monuments. Liszt began his series of charity concerts in Vienna for the victims of the flood, which received an incredibly positive reception. This was the event that launched his career into great heights, and in the next decade he played in almost every country in Europe raising his popularity with each performance. In 1839, one year after the great flood he returned to Budapest for the first time since his childhood and held one of his most famous concerts in the building of the historic Pesti Vigadó which was the first of his many performances in the concert hall. Liszt was a composer of many world famous pieces like Hungarian Rhapsody part 2, or Liebestraume No. 3, he also invented the concept of piano recital, as he was the first person who held a performance with only a single piano and no accompaniment.
He was the founder and the first president of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1875, where he also was a teacher until his passing. He left behind an enormous legacy, as his music and his teaching methods are still unparalleled around the world. Many of his students continued to spread the so called “Liszt method” which is taught most consistently at his Academy even today.
Fun Fact: Liszt composed 1000 piano pieces, which is an incredibly great number, considering the high quality of all of the songs. He also wrote the Transcendental Etudes, which, according to Robert Schumann, was so impressive only 10 or 12 pianists in the entire world were good enough to play.