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Alfred Brendel

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Biography

Alfred Brendel (born January 5, 1931) is an Austrian pianist, born in Czechoslovakia. He is widely regarded as one of the great classical pianists of the second half of the 20th century.

Brendel was born in Vízmberk, Czechoslovakia, now Loučná nad Desnou Czech Republic, to a non-musical family. They moved to Zagreb when Brendel was six, and later to Graz, where they lived during World War II, towards the end of which the 14 year old Brendel was sent to Yugoslavia to dig trenches. However, he caught frostbite and was taken to hospital. Throughout his childhood, Brendel had occasional piano lessons, but otherwise little formal music education.

After the war, Brendel composed music, as well as continuing to play the piano and paint. However, he never had any more formal piano lessons and although he attended masterclasses with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann, he is largely self-taught.

Brendel gave his first public recital in Graz at the age of 17.[1] He called it “The Fugue In Piano Literature”, and as well as fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt, it included some of Brendel’s own compositions. However, he gave up composing shortly after this to concentrate on the piano. In 1949 he won 4th prize in the Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy and moved to Vienna the following year. At the age of 21, he made his first record, Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5.

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  • Jonnyplops

    I'm GLAD you found out and really ENJOY his playing.

    11 hours ago Reply
  • SirianKnight

    I have FINALLY found out how Brendel became the great pianist he is!! Could never find out anything about how he got started! To be 'largely self taught' and to have reached the level he has is truly amazing. LOVE his playing and his quirky intelect!...his poetry is truly amazing! He also likes strange native masks and odd people...

    13 Jul 2012 Reply
  • luckystoned

    cool stuff!

    2 Mar 2012 Reply
  • luckystoned

    cool stuff!

    2 Mar 2012 Reply
  • SixthElephant

    Death to all "Für Elise" listeners [2]

    26 Dec 2011 Reply
  • ativke

    schubert blows my mind. 4D music.

    31 Oct 2011 Reply
  • aaammmiiinnn

    Schubert impromptu 90/2 = tears

    2 Mar 2011 Reply
  • VolcanoColdplay

    Death to all "Für Elise" listeners!!

    3 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Jhaidinszaev

    Hmm. He's still alive? I guess I can bump him from "second-ish favourite pianist, maybe 1.5th" to "favourite living pianist" then -- the No. 2 spot never seemed quite fair.

    11 Oct 2010 Reply
  • keisuh

    Genius, all time my favourite along with Mitsuko Uchida.

    31 Jul 2010 Reply
  • Balandon

    he's still on fire! 79 and keep burning stages! Great man

    4 Jun 2010 Reply
  • yu00

    I think he's the best interpretator of the Schubert's sonatas. But that's just my opinion...

    29 Apr 2010 Reply
  • conversecamus

    this man has reached baller status

    11 Apr 2010 Reply
  • DaveyFabulous

    Seriously hot shit. If Wikipedia is to be believed, pretty much self-taught as well. Utterly, utterly disgusting that he can be this good...

    2 Apr 2010 Reply
  • BloodyWalls

    The Aristotle of pianists.

    27 Mar 2010 Reply
  • methadonepretty

    Too hot.

    5 Jun 2009 Reply
  • F_Hole

    His recordings introduced me to Haydn's pianos sonatas, for which I'm eternally grateful.

    24 May 2009 Reply
  • BurakCC

    some samples

    28 Jun 2008 Reply
  • Tiago7

    I must say, his recordings of Liszt's Annees de Pelerinage are simply genious. :)

    29 May 2008 Reply
  • Bayati

    similar artists: glenn gould, horowitz, argerich, richter, rubinstein. I'm flabbergasted.

    27 Mar 2008 Reply
  • All 26 shouts