(1811 - 1883) Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist. A child prodigy, he first performed in public at the age of nine. He studied in Vienna under Czerny and Salieri, in Paris under Reicha. He lived in Geneva (1835 - 39) with the Comtesse d'Agoult, by whom he had three children, one of whom was Cosima, who later married Richard Wagner. Liszt was court kapellmeister at Weimar from 1848 to 1859. In 1865 he entered the Franciscan order at Rome and was thenceforth known as Abbe Liszt. He died at Bayreuth in the midst of a Wagner festival. He was outstanding as a piano teacher, as well as being hailed as one of the greatest performing pianists of all time.
Much of his music, especially from the last twenty years of his life, is marked by daring innovations in form and harmonic relations, which have fascinated and influenced composers ever since. His works include the Faust Symphony (1853 - 61), the Dante Symphony (1856); twelve symphonic poems, including Les Preludes (after Lamartine ); two piano concertos; much piano music, notably the Annees de Pelerinage (1855 - 83) and 20 Hungarian Rhapsodies (1851 - 86); two oratorios, several masses, and other church music; songs and organ pieces. As a teacher and supporter of young composers, Liszt was extraordinarily open - hearted and generous. He never accepted payment from his students, and he was constantly conducting and performing the work of new composers, including Berlioz and Wagner.