February 20, 1791 was the birth date of Carl Czerny, an Austrian pianist, teacher and composer. He is remembered, perhaps less than fondly, by many piano students for his numerous piano etudes. Czerny had the great distinction of being selected to play the public premiere of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Yet Czerny did feel confident as a performer and would focus on teaching. He taught in the homes of the Viennese nobility, conducting up to 12 lessons daily.
At the age of 9 Franz Liszt, who would become out of the flashiest piano virtuosos of all time, began his piano studies with Czerny. , Czerny insisted that Liszt play only scales and exercises during Liszt’s first months as his student, to build up his technique. Because Czerny was among the first composers to focus on the etude form, Liszt would dedicate his 12 Transcendental Etudes to his teacher, Czerny.