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.

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 1 
Ludwig van Beethoven
(One of the Most Admired Composers and Pianists in the History of Western Music)

Ludwig van Beethoven
5
Birthdate: December 17, 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
5
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
(Composer, Pianist and Teacher of the Romantic Era)

Franz Liszt
5
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.

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 4 
Franz Peter Schubert
(Austrian Composer and One of the Greatest Piano Virtuosos of the Late Classical and Early Romantic Era)

Franz Peter Schubert
5
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.

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 5 
Joseph Haydn
(Composer of the Classical Period Known As 'Father of the Symphony' & 'Father of the String Quartet')

Joseph Haydn
4
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
(Russian Composer Who Was Considered One of the Finest Pianists of His Era)

Sergei Rachmaninoff
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Starorussky Uyezd
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.

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 7 
Johannes Brahms
(One of the Romantic Period's Most Revered and Popular Composers)

Johannes Brahms
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1833
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.
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 8 
Robert Schumann
(One of the Greatest Composer of the Romantic Era which include 'Carnaval, Symphonic Studies and Kinderszenen')

Robert Schumann
3
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.
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 9 
Felix Mendelssohn
(Best Known for His Solo Piano Composition 'Songs Without Words' and Founder of 'Leipzig Conservatory')

Felix Mendelssohn
5
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. 

 10 
Maurice Ravel
(One of the Leading Composers of Impressionist Music, Known for His Orchestral Work "Boléro,")

Maurice Ravel
3
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.
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 11 
Sergei Prokofiev
(Composer and pianist)

Sergei Prokofiev
4
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.

 12 
Aretha Franklin
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists in the World & 'Queen of Soul')

Aretha Franklin
4
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.

 13 
Ray Charles
(Singer-songwriter)

Ray Charles
5
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.

 14 
John Williams
(One of the Greatest Film Composers of All Time)

John Williams
5
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.

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 15 
Little Richard
(Known for His Hit Single 'Long Tall Sally' & Regarded as the 'Architect of Rock and Roll')

Little Richard
4
Birthdate: December 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States
Died: May 9, 2020
The Architect of Rock and Roll Little Richard is best known for his track Tutti Frutti, which was included in the National Recording Registry. His music was characterized by energetic piano and back beats. His songs broke all racial barriers and were equally appreciated by white and black listeners.

 16 
Toni Braxton
(One of the Best-Selling Female R&B Artist In History)

Toni Braxton
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn, Maryland, United States
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.

 17 
Nat King Cole
(Singer and Jazz Pianist Best Known His Soft Baritone Voice)

Nat King Cole
7
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.

 18 
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
(One of the Most Influential Composers of the 20th Century and a Pivotal Figure in 'Modernist Music')

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
8
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.

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 19 
Liberace
(Pianist, Singer)

Liberace
5
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.

 20 
Edvard Grieg
(Composer, Pianist)

Edvard Grieg
3
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.
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 21 
Norah Jones
(One of the Best-Selling Jazz Artists & Daughter of Indian Sitarist and Composer Ravi Shankar)

Norah Jones
5
Birthdate: March 30, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Norah Jones is an American singer, pianist, and songwriter. Having sold over 50 million records worldwide, Jones is one of the most successful and best-selling singers of her generation. She was ranked 60th on the artists of the 2000s decade list published by Billboard magazine. Norah Jones has won several prestigious awards including multiple Grammy Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

 22 
Duke Ellington
(One of the Greatest Jazz Composers & Bandleader)

Duke Ellington
5
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.

 23 
Roger Waters
(Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer)

Roger Waters
5
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

 24 
Harry Connick Jr.
(American singer)

Harry Connick Jr.
5
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...

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 25 
Fiona Apple
(Singer-songwriter)

Fiona Apple
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, United States

 26 
Bob Seger
(Singer-songwriter, Musician)

Bob Seger
4
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.

 27 
Taylor Hawkins
(Musician)

Taylor Hawkins
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

 28 
Alicia Witt
(Actress)

Alicia Witt
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 29 
Nick Cave
(Singer-songwriter)

Nick Cave
5
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. 

 30 

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

 31 
Glenn Gould
(Pianist)

Glenn Gould
3
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.   

 32 
Serj Tankian
(Singer-songwriter)

Serj Tankian
5
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.

 33 
Leonard Bernstein
(Composer Whose Best-Known Work is the Broadway Musical 'West Side Story')

Leonard Bernstein
4
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.

 34 
Paul Reiser
(Comedian)

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

 35 
Don Shirley
(Classical and Jazz Pianist and Composer)

Don Shirley
5
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States
Died: April 6, 2013

Don Shirley was an American jazz and classical pianist and composer. He is best remembered for his association with Cadence Records where he recorded many albums during the 1950s and 1960s. Apart from performing in numerous concert tours, Shirley also wrote organ symphonies and piano concerti. Shirley's friendship with his bodyguard Tony Lip was dramatized in the film Green Book.

 36 
Debbie Gibson
(Singer-songwriter, Actress)

Debbie Gibson
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 37 
Jimmy Dean
(Singer)

Jimmy Dean
5
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.

 38 
George Gershwin
(Composer, Pianist)

George Gershwin
4
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.

 39 
Jon Batiste
(Musician)

Jon Batiste
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kenner, Louisiana, United States

 40 
Ryan Tedder
(Singer-songwriter)

Ryan Tedder
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 41 

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

 42 
Benjamin Britten
(Composer, conductor and pianist)

Benjamin Britten
3
Birthdate: November 22, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lowestoft
Died: December 4, 1976

 43 
Randy Newman
(Singer-songwriter & Pianist)

Randy Newman
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 44 
Fats Domino
(Singer-Songwriter, Pianist)

Fats Domino
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: October 24, 2017

 45 
Teddy Geiger
(Musician)

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

 46 
Herbie Hancock
(Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer)

Herbie Hancock
4
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago

 47 
Harry Nilsson
(Former Singer-songwriter known for Everybody's Talkin' and Without You, both of which won Grammy Awards)

Harry Nilsson
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 15, 1994

 48 
Gram Parsons
(Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist)

Gram Parsons
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida, United States
Died: September 19, 1973

 49 
Tori Amos
(Musician and Singer)

Tori Amos
5
Birthdate: August 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newton
Alternative rock singer Tori Amos is known for her songs that highlight issues such as feminism. Amos was the youngest to win a music scholarship to the Peabody Institute. She performed with the group Y Kant Tori Read before going solo. She is associated with RAINN, a sexual abuse helpline. 

 50 
Neil Sedaka
(One of the Best Selling Pop Singer-Songwriter Known for His Hits 'Oh! Carol' and 'Calendar Girl')

Neil Sedaka
4
Birthdate: March 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Singer, pianist, and composer Neil Sedaka initially co-founded the group The Tokens. Most of his collaborations have been with lyricists Phil Cody and Howard Greenfield. He has delivered hits such as Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and Bad Blood. He also launched free online mini-concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic.