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Muzio Clementi (January 23, 1752 – March 10, 1832) was an Italian-born British pianist and composer whose studies and sonatas developed the techniques of the early piano to such an extent that he was called “the father of the piano.”
Clementi was born in Rome, Italy, on January 23, 1752. He was the eldest of seven children of Nicolò Clementi, a silversmith, and Madalena, née Caisar (Magdalena Kaiser), who was Swiss. Nicolò soon recognized Muzio's musical talent and arranged for private musical instruction with a relative, Antonio Baroni, the maestro di cappella at St. Peter's Basilica.
At the age of 14, Clementi was sent to London to study with the harpsichordist John Christopher Bach, the son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Clementi quickly became a proficient keyboard player and composer, and in 1770 he won a competition against the leading English pianist, Thomas Linley.
Clementi returned to Italy in 1772, where he toured and gave concerts. He also published his first collection of piano sonatas. In 1777, he returned to London and settled there permanently.
In London, Clementi became a successful pianist, composer, and teacher. He published over 100 piano sonatas, as well as concertos, symphonies, and chamber music. He also wrote a number of instructional books on piano playing.
Clementi was a strong advocate for the piano, and he believed that it was the superior instrument to the harpsichord. He worked to improve the design of the piano, and he also invented a number of new techniques for playing the instrument.
Clementi's music was influential on a number of composers, including Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in the development of the piano.
Clementi died in Evesham, England, on March 10, 1832. He was 80 years old.
Clementi's music is characterized by its technical virtuosity, its melodic beauty, and its emotional power. He was a master of the keyboard, and his music is still enjoyed by pianists and audiences alike.