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Concert pianist

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Concert pianist

For other uses, see Pianist (disambiguation).

File:Temporal-Control-and-Hand-Movement-Efficiency-in-Skilled-Music-Performance-pone.0050901.s001.ogv A pianist (/ˈpənɨst/ ) is a musician who plays the piano. Most forms of Western music can make use of the piano. Consequently, pianists have a wide variety of repertoire and styles to choose from, including classical music, jazz, and all sorts of popular music. Most pianists also can, to a certain extent play other keyboard instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, the organ, etc.

Pianists Past and Present

Modern classical pianists dedicate their careers to performing, recording, teaching, researching as well as learning new works/expanding their repertoire. They generally do not write or transcribe music as pianists did in the 19th century. Some classical pianists might specialize in accompaniment and chamber music while others (relatively few) will perform as full-time soloists.

Mozart could be considered the first 'concert pianist' as he performed widely on the piano. Beethoven and Liszt were also famed for their playing, however, as we do not have audio recordings of these pianists, we rely completely on written commentary to give us an account of their technique and style.

Jazz pianists almost always perform with other musicians. Their playing is freer than that of classical pianists and they create an air of spontaneity in their performances. They generally do not write down their compositions; improvisation is a significant part of their work. Well known Jazz pianists include Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock.

Popular pianists might work as live performers, session musicians, arrangers most likely feel at home with synthesizers and other electornic keyboard instruments. Notable popular pianists include Victor Borge who performed as a comedian; Richard Clayderman, who is known for his covers of popular tunes; and Liberace, also a singer who at the height of his fame, was one of the highest paid entertainers in the world.

A single listing of pianists in all genres would be impractical, given the multitude of musicians noted for their performances on the instrument. Below are links to lists of well-known or influential pianists divided by genres:

Classical pianists

Jazz pianists

Pop and rock music pianists

Blues pianists

Gospel pianists

New Age pianists


Many important composers were also virtuoso pianists. The following is an incomplete list of such musicians.

Classical period

Romantic period

Modern period


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