Pianists

Pianists are the musicians who play the piano. The piano is a versatile musical instrument that can be played across several genres of Western music, and thus pianists prominently figure among the favourite musicians of not only the western countries, but also around the globe. Since piano is a keyboard instrument, many pianists are also skilled at playing other similar instruments such as harpsichord, synthesizers and organ. Pianists play a wide variety of music, ranging from classical to jazz and all types of popular music. Beethoven and Clementi were renowned pianists form the classical era while another much acclaimed musician, Mozart is considered to the world’ first “concert pianist”. Chopin and Liszt of the romantic era were accomplished pianists whose techniques continue to inspire the modern musician. Coming to the modern world, the Russian Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev, counted among the top composers of the 20th century created several masterpieces across numerous musical genres. Contemporary American pianist Philip Aaberg though trained in classical music can effortlessly incorporate elements of jazz, rock and blues into his compositions while the German pianist Markus Burger has created a name for himself in New Age music. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous pianists from all over the world.

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 Pianists

 1 Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 30, 1770
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bonn, Germany
Died: March 26, 1827

German composer and pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven, remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music even two centuries after his death. Born into a musical family, he was initially tutored by his father. He found success early as a pianist and went on to become an admired composer despite suffering from hearing-impairment.

 2 Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 1, 1810
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Żelazowa Wola, Poland
Died: October 17, 1849

Romantic Era virtuoso pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin, nicknamed The Poet of the Piano, is remembered as the inventor of the instrumental ballade. The legendary composer mostly created solo piano masterpieces but also experimented with piano concertos and chamber pieces. He was influenced by Bach, Mozart, and Polish folk music.

 3 Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
4
Famous As: Composer, pianist, conductor and teacher
Birthdate: October 22, 1811
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Raiding, Austria
Died: July 31, 1886

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.

Recommended Lists:

 4 Franz Peter Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 31, 1797
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Himmelpfortgrund, Vienna, Austria
Died: November 19, 1828

Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert was one of the most prominent figures of the Viennese Classical and Romantic periods. He initially performed at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. His compositions include over 600 vocal works and several symphonies, operas, and piano sonatas. One of his most-talked-about works is the Unfinished Symphony.

Recommended Lists:

 5 Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 31, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rohrau, Austria
Died: May 31, 1809

Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer who played a key role in the progression of chamber music during the Classical period. He is often referred to as the Father of the String Quartet and Father of the Symphony for his contributions to musical form. Joseph Haydn is also credited with mentoring and tutoring Mozart and Beethoven, respectively.

 6 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff
5
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Velikiy Novgorod
Died: March 28, 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, conductor, and virtuoso pianist of the late Romantic period. Credited with exploring the expressive possibilities of the piano, Rachmaninoff's music continues to be featured in films. His four-year struggle with depression, which was followed by the critical failure of his Symphony No. 1, was depicted in the 2015 musical Preludes.

Recommended Lists:

 7 Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms
4
Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Pianist
Birthdate: May 7, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: April 3, 1897
German composer, conductor, and pianist Johannes Brahms is considered as one of the "Three Bs" of music, the other two being Bach and Beethoven. He was known for his perfectionism. Some of his best-known works are Saint Anthony Variations and A German Requiem. His work mingled traditional and modern elements.
You May Like

 8 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stone Town, Tanzania
Died: November 24, 1991

Legendary singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the British rock band, Queen, Frederick Bulsara adopted the name Freddie Mercury which aptly suits his on-stage vibrant and exuberant persona. A four-octave vocal range musician, Mercury owned every stage he set foot on as much with his vivid performance as with his superhuman voice modulation.  

Recommended Lists:

 9 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
6
Famous As: Singer & Activist
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

 10 Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann
3
Famous As: Composer, Pianist & Music Critic
Birthdate: June 8, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zwickau, Germany
Died: July 29, 1856
Robert Schumann was a German pianist, music critic, and composer. An influential musician of the Romantic era, Schumann is considered one of the greatest composers of the era. Schumann was initially focused on becoming the finest pianist in Europe. However, a hand injury brought an end to his dream, forcing him to focus on composing.
Recommended Lists:

 11 Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Popular singer and songwriter, Lady Gaga has been active in the music industry since her teens. One of the world's best-selling music artists, she is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. A versatile performer, she is known for her consistent image reinventions in music. She is actively involved in philanthropy and social activism.

 12 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 13 John Williams

John Williams
5
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Floral Park, New York, United States

John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.

 14 Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel
3
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.
Recommended Lists:

 15 Alanis Morisette

Alanis Morisette
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: June 1, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Alanis Morisette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter and actress. Renowned for her mezzo-soprano voice, Morisette has been named by Rolling Stone as the Queen of Alt-Rock Angst. A recipient of 13 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, Morisette has released several successful albums, including Jagged Little Pill, which was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

 16 Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn
5
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 3, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 4, 1847

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer of the early Romantic period. He was also a skilled organist, pianist, and conductor. He composed symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and organ music. His collection of lyrical piano songs Songs Without Words is among his best-known works. He was the founder of the public university The Leipzig Conservatory. He died aged just 38. 

 17 Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev
4
Famous As: Composer and pianist
Birthdate: April 23, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Krasne, Ukraine
Died: March 5, 1953

Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian Soviet pianist, composer, and conductor. Renowned for creating masterpieces across various genres, Prokofiev is widely considered one of the 20th century's major composers. Many other composers like Arthur Honegger have called Prokofiev the greatest contemporary musician of all time. An open pianists' competition, which is held every year in Ukraine, is named after Sergei Prokofiev.

 18 Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States
Four-time Grammy-winner Jerry Lee Lewis, nicknamed “The Killer,” is best known for his track Great Balls of Fire. A controversy surrounding his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra destroyed his career. Named to Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, he was also part of the Million Dollar Quartet.
Recommended Lists:

 19 Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris
5
Famous As: Disc Jockey, Record Producer, Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dumfries, Scotland
Grammy-winning DJ Calvin Harris soared to fame with his album I Created Disco. His track We Found Love, a collaboration with Rihanna, charted on the US Billboard Hot 100. He owns a record label and topped Forbes's list of the highest-paid DJs of the world for 6 years.

 20 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
7
Famous As: Composer, Pianist & Conductor
Birthdate: June 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 6, 1971

Four-time Grammy-winning Russian composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He is remembered for his ballets The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. He broke the traditional flow of music and incorporated his own style.

Recommended Lists:

 21 Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton
4
Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 22 Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole
7
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: February 15, 1965
Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African-American to host his own show.

 23 Liberace

Liberace
5
Famous As: Pianist, Singer
Birthdate: May 16, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 4, 1987
Known as “Mr. Showmanship,” pianist, singer, and actor Liberace shot to fame with The Liberace Show, which he ended regularly with his theme song I'll Be Seeing You. The highest-paid entertainer from the 1950s-1970s, he performed in concerts and tours frequently. He also released several autobiographies and cookbooks.

 24 Ross Lynch

Ross Lynch
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 29, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Littleton, Colorado, United States
Ross Lynch made his debut as Austin Moon in the Disney series Austin & Ally. He also appeared as Brady in the Teen Beach TV films and as Harvey Kinkle in the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He has also delivered a Billboard-topping album with the band R5.
Recommended Lists:

 25 Alicia Witt

Alicia Witt
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 26 Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
5
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: May 24, 1974
Jazz legend Duke Ellington managed his orchestra till his death, and over a 6-decade-long career. He is known for his collaborations with legends such as pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. He termed his music “American music” and refused to attach any category to it. He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

 27 Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Pianist, Writer, Songwriter, Jazz musician
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manhattan

 28 Bob Seger

Bob Seger
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: May 6, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Singer, songwriter, and musician, Bob Seger, first gained fame in the 1960s as a heartland rock artist. Known for his classic raspy and powerful voice, he recorded many songs that dealt with themes like love and women. With worldwide sales of more than 75 million records, he is one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

 29 Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr.
5
Famous As: American singer
Birthdate: September 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Grammy-winning singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. was born to a lawyer mother and an attorney father, who also owned a record store. He mastered the piano as a child and formed his first jazz band at 10. He later soared to fame with the multi-platinum soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally...

 30 Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor
5
Famous As: Singer, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer
Birthdate: May 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mercer

Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and composer. Reznor is credited with founding the popular band Nine Inch Nails, where he serves as the principal songwriter, lead vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. Trent Reznor is also credited with mentoring Marilyn Manson and has contributed to the latter's albums. . 

 31 Roger Waters

Roger Waters
5
Famous As: Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Surrey

Co-founder of the rock band, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is celebrated singer, songwriter and composer. Beginning his career with rhythm guitar, he initially served solely as a bassist in Pink Floyd before emerging as their lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader. Later he left the group due to creative difference and embarked on his solo career, releasing numerous albums and singles

 32 Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany
Six-time Grammy-nominated rock singer Jackson Browne has sold more than 18 million albums in the U.S. Best known for his hits These Days, Running on Empty, and Doctor My Eyes, he was featured on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. The MUSE founder is an avid environmentalist, too.

 33 Edvard Grieg

Edvard Grieg
3
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: June 15, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: September 4, 1907
Regarded as Norway’s Shakespeare, musical legend Edvard Grieg learned the piano from his mother. The Scottish claim he was their own, as Grieg’s Scottish grandfather had migrated to Norway. Grieg was known for his compositions such as the Piano Concerto and for infusing Norwegian folk elements into his music.

 34 Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins
4
Famous As: Socialite
Birthdate: July 19, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 26, 1944

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite who was often ridiculed and mocked for her poor singing ability, which in turn made her popular. Known as the world's worst opera singer, Jenkins became a musical cult-figure in New York City due to her technical incompetence as an amateur soprano. Her life inspired several plays and films, including Florence Foster Jenkins.

 35 Jack Antonoff

Jack Antonoff
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bergenfield, New Jersey, USA

 36 Nick Cave

Nick Cave
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 22, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Warracknabeal
Nick Cave is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. The ARIA Hall of Fame inductee is known for the intense themes of his songs, such as death. He has also written several books, including novels and anthologies of his poetry. 

 37 Don Shirley

Don Shirley
5
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Died: April 6, 2013

 38 Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actress
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 39 Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Serj Tankian is an Armenian-American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Tankian is credited with co-founding the popular band System of a Down. Renowned for his wide vocal range and unusual delivery, Serj Tankian is widely considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time. Also a political activist, Tankian co-founded Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization.

 40 Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach
4
Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City
Legendary musician and songwriter Burt Bacharach teamed up with lyricist Hal David and created many popular songs from the 1950s to the 1980s, including countless Billboard charters. He has won six Grammys and three Academy Awards for his tracks, and most of his songs were sung by Dionne Warwick. 

 41 Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein
4
Famous As: Conductor, Composer
Birthdate: August 25, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 14, 1990

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.

 42 Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Plainview, Texas, United States
Died: June 13, 2010
Jimmy Dean was an American television host, country music singer, businessman, and actor. He is credited with creating and popularizing a food company named Jimmy Dean Foods. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, although he was still alive when he was nominated for the honor in 2010.

 43 George Gershwin

George Gershwin
4
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: September 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 11, 1937

George Gershwin was an American pianist, composer, and painter. His work Porgy and Bess is widely regarded as an American cultural classic and one of the 20th century's most important American operas. Many of his compositions have been used in films and television series. His life and work inspired the 1945 biographical movie, Rhapsody in Blue.

 44 Paul Reiser

Paul Reiser
5
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: March 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 45 Randy Newman

Randy Newman
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Pianist
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 46 Teddy Pendergrass

Teddy Pendergrass
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, USA
Died: January 13, 2010

 47 Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould
3
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 4, 1982

Glenn Gould was a Canadian classical pianist, counted among the most celebrated pianists of the 20th century. He was also an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was known for his remarkable technical proficiency and unorthodox musical interpretations. He was a writer and composer as well. The Glenn Gould Foundation was established in his honor.   

 48 Teddy Geiger

Teddy Geiger
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, USA

 49 Richard Wright (Musician)

Richard Wright (Musician)
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hatch End, Middlesex, England
Died: September 15, 2008

Richard Wright was an English musician. He is credited with co-founding the popular band ,Pink Floyd, for which he also served as a vocalist and keyboardist. Wright contributed immensely to the success of Pink Floyd and his distinctive keyboard playing was a key component of the music produced by the band.

 50 AJ Michalka

AJ Michalka
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 10, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Torrance, California

AJ Michalka is an American actress, musician, and singer-songwriter. She is credited with forming the popular pop duo Aly & AJ along with her sister Alyson Renae Michalka. Also a respected actress and voice actress, AJ Michalka has contributed to the success of several TV series, such as Steven Universe and The Goldbergs.

See Also