Famous French Pianists

Find out more about the greatest French Pianists, including Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, Pierre Boulez, Michel Legrand and Richard Clayderman.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite French Pianists

 1 Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: March 7, 1875
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ciboure, France
Died: December 28, 1937
French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel is best known for his orchestral composition Boléro. He rejected the Legion d'honneur and all French awards. He was one the first composers to realize the importance of recording music to gain a wider reach. Most of his music consisted of piano and orchestration.

 2 Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France

Hélöise Letissier, also known as Christine and the Queens and Chris, often challenges gender stereotypes through her music. The queer electropop and indie artist was inspired by drag queens in London, after she quit theater school following a break-up. Known for her chart-busting debut album, Chaleur humaine, she identifies as pansexual.

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 3 Erik Satie

Erik Satie
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 17, 1866
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Honfleur, France
Died: July 1, 1925

Erik Satie was a French pianist and composer. An influential artist during his time, Satie's works served as a predecessor to later artistic movements like repetitive music, minimalism, and the Theatre of the Absurd. Apart from being a musician, Erik Satie was also a prolific writer, who contributed to publications, such as Vanity Fair and 391.

 4 Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns
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Famous As: Composer, Organist, Pianist
Birthdate: October 9, 1835
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 16, 1921
French composer and multi-instrumentalist Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was an icon of the Romantic era, known for masterpieces such as the First Cello Concerto and the opera Samson and Delilah. He was initially a church organist and then became a freelance composer and pianist. He also taught music in Paris.

 5 Ève Curie

Ève Curie
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 22, 2007

French and American writer, journalist, and pianist Ève Curie was one of the daughters of scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. She was the only one in the Curie family who did not choose a career in science. She authored her mother’s biography and was actively involved with UNICEF, helping women and children in developing countries.

 6 Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré
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Famous As: Composer, Organist
Birthdate: October 22, 1845
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pamiers, France
Died: June 4, 1924

One of the greatest composers of all time, French pianist and organist Gabriel Fauré is best remembered for his masterpieces such as Requiem. His music career began at 9, when he was sent to Paris to become a choirmaster. At 75, he was awarded the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'honneur.

 7 Khatia Buniatishvili

Khatia Buniatishvili
3
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: June 21, 1987
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Batumi, Adjar SSR, Georgian SSR, USSR
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 8 Richard Clayderman

Richard Clayderman
3
Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Musician
Birthdate: December 28, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris

 9 Alfred Cortot

Alfred Cortot
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 26, 1877
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nyon, Switzerland
Died: June 15, 1962

 10 Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc
3
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: January 7, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 30, 1963

French composer Francis Poulenc was most self-taught, as he was not encouraged to join a music school by his pharmaceutical manufacturer father. Part of the legendary “Les Six” of French music, Poulenc was also a skilled pianist. He is also remembered for the opera Les dialogues des Carmélites.

 11 Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 24, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 26, 2019

 12 Yann Tiersen

Yann Tiersen
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brest, France

 13 Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Visual artist, Pianist
Birthdate: June 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Talence

Prince Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, was a skilled winemaker and a talented poet, known for his flamboyant lifestyle. He had often publicly expressed his unhappiness over not being named a king and also declared he wouldn’t want to be buried next to his wife.

 14 Gyorgy Cziffra

Gyorgy Cziffra
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: November 5, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 15, 1994

 15 Victoria Legrand

Victoria Legrand
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 28, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

 16 Stéphane Grappelli

Stéphane Grappelli
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Famous As: Street artist, Composer, Jazz musician, Pianist
Birthdate: January 26, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 1, 1997

 17 Jean-Jacques Goldman

Jean-Jacques Goldman
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Pianist, Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
Birthdate: October 11, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris

 18 Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud
2
Famous As: Classical composer, Conductor, Autobiographer, Musicologist, Music educator, Jazz musician, Music critic, Composer, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: September 4, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence
Died: June 22, 1974

 19 Ibrahim Maalouf

Ibrahim Maalouf
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Famous As: Jazz musician
Birthdate: November 5, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

 20 Charles-Valentin Alkan

Charles-Valentin Alkan
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 30, 1813
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 29, 1888

 21 Michel Petrucciani

Michel Petrucciani
2
Famous As: Jazz pianist
Birthdate: December 28, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Orange, France
Died: January 6, 1999

 22 Francis Lai

Francis Lai
2
Famous As: Composer, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: April 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nice

 23 Reynaldo Hahn

Reynaldo Hahn
2
Famous As: Conductor, Composer, Choreographer, Music critic, Pianist
Birthdate: August 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caracas
Died: January 28, 1947

Reynaldo Hahn was a Venezuelan-born French conductor, composer, singer, and music critic. A prolific composer, Hahn wrote a wide range of piano works and chamber music. His orchestral works include tone poems, concertos ballets, as well as incidental music for films and plays. Towards the end of his career, Reynaldo Hahn served as the director of the Paris Opéra. 

 24 Hélène Grimaud

Hélène Grimaud
2
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: November 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France

 25 Fania Fenelon

Fania Fenelon
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 2, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 19, 1983

 26 Jacques Loussier

Jacques Loussier
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: October 26, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Angers, France
Died: March 5, 2019

 27 Brigitte Engerer

Brigitte Engerer
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: October 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tunis, Tunisia
Died: June 23, 2012

 28 Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade
1
Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Musician
Birthdate: August 8, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: April 13, 1944

 29 Keren Ann

Keren Ann
1
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Writer, Engineer, Singer, Audio engineer, Guitarist, Pianist, Record producer, Producer
Birthdate: March 10, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caesarea Maritima

Keren Ann is a singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and engineer. In addition to playing the guitar, clarinet, and piano, Ann also writes and engineers musical and choir arrangements. Over the years, she has also contributed to the soundtrack of films like Thelma, Louise et Chantal and Yossi.

 30 Gyorgy Kurtag

Gyorgy Kurtag
1
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 19, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lugoj, Romania

 31 Johann Friedrich Franz Burgmuller

Johann Friedrich Franz Burgmuller
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: December 4, 1806
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Regensburg, Germany
Died: February 13, 1874

 32 Emmanuel Chabrier

Emmanuel Chabrier
1
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ambert, France
Died: September 13, 1894

 33 Louise Farrenc

Louise Farrenc
1
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 31, 1804
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 15, 1875

 34 Wanda Landowska

Wanda Landowska
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Famous As: Harpsichordist
Birthdate: July 5, 1879
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 16, 1959

 35 Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Jean-Yves Thibaudet
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lyon, France

 36 Charlotte de Rothschild

Charlotte de Rothschild
1
Famous As: Socialite
Birthdate: May 6, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 20, 1899

 37 Ignaz Pleyel

Ignaz Pleyel
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 18, 1757
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lower Austria, Austria
Died: November 14, 1831

 38 Claude Bolling

Claude Bolling
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cannes, France
Died: December 29, 2020

 39 Emil Waldteufel

Emil Waldteufel
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: December 9, 1837
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: February 12, 1915

 40 Walter Gieseking

Walter Gieseking
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: November 5, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 26, 1956

 41 André Messager

André Messager
1
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: December 30, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montluçon, France
Died: February 24, 1929

 42 Jean Françaix

Jean Françaix
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Le Mans, France
Died: September 25, 1997

 43 Alexandre Tharaud

Alexandre Tharaud
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: December 9, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

 44 Alexandre Tansman

Alexandre Tansman
1
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 12, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
Died: November 15, 1986

 45 Lucas Debargue

Lucas Debargue
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: October 23, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

 46 Riopy

Riopy
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: France

 47 Sébastien Érard

Sébastien Érard
1
Famous As: French musical instrument maker
Birthdate: April 5, 1752
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: August 5, 1831

 48 Yvonne Loriod

Yvonne Loriod
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: January 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Houilles, France
Died: May 17, 2010

 49 Marcelle Meyer

Marcelle Meyer
0
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: May 22, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lille, France
Died: November 17, 1958

 50 Carlos Salzedo

Carlos Salzedo
1
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 6, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Arcachon, France
Died: August 17, 1961