Alfred Brendel's place among the greatest musicians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is assured. Renowned for his masterly interpretations of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Liszt, he is one of the indisputable authorities in musical life today and one of the very few living pianists whose name alone guaranteed a sell-out anywhere in the world he chooses to play.
Yet he was not a child prodigy. His parents were not musicians. There was no music in the house. And, as he admits himself, he is neither a good sight-reader nor blessed with a phenomenal memory.
In Zagreb he was given his first piano lessons at the age of six. At the Graz Conservatory he studied with Ludovika von Kaan. But, after the age of sixteen, the little formal training he had came to an end. Presented with a Revox tape-recorder he was to learnt by recording the piece he was studying, listening to himself, and reacting to it.
He gave his first public recital in Graz age 17, boldly entitled 'The Fugue in Piano Literature' with works by Bach, Brahms and Liszt. Subsequently, on 26 April 1998, he was to celebrate 50 years of public performances. He is also a published poet and has published two collections of articles and lectures.