Born: 1752

Died: 1832

Muzio Clementi

A biography

Italian-born Clementi started his studies in Rome before being all but adopted by Sir Peter Beckford who brought him to live on his estate in Dorset. There he honed his craft both as a composer and as a considerable keyboard virtuoso. In 1774 he moved to London where he established his reputation as a conductor and impresario in addition to his compositional and keyboard skills.

Between 1780 and 1785 he toured extensively in Europe and in 1781 he took part in a widely publicised keyboard ‘duel’ with Mozart – a contest that was declared a tie. He took up teaching and in 1798 he established a music publishing firm in whose catalogue were works by Beethoven. He also founded a piano-making company.

Much of his output features the piano but he also wrote a handful of symphonies in a late-Classical style. His style did take into account the new demand for Romantic sensibility in music but he was essentially a Classical artist, though his keyboard dexterity was considerable. He wrote a couple of treatises on keyboard playing: Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano Forte (1801) and the comprehensive keyboard collection Gradus ad Parnassum (1817-26).

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £6.67 / month


Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Full website access

From £8.75 / month



If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.