Top Pianists of All Time


When it comes to list-down the top piano musicians of all time, it becomes a difficult task to accomplish. The reason is piano is a music instrument with rich history and heritage. With that being said, we have seen the emergence of many piano musicians in different eras, making our opinion divided entirely.

So, in this article, we are going to list down the very best piano music composers of all time to ensure you get a heads up on whom to follow or admire for your thirst for piano music. So, let’s move forward and find out who has made our list of top pianists of all time.

1. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

Top Pianists of All TimeThe very first pianist in our list is Sergei Rachmaninov, a Russian born music composer. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatorium with composer Alexander Scriabin. He had composed some of the best piano music of all time including Piano Concerto No 2. In fact, this composition has been voted as the most famous classical music of all time. In 1917, Sergei Rachmaninov had left Russia to pursue his career as a touring pianist.

He moved his career in that direction to support his family. As for musical talent, he was gifted with a clean finger technique, allowing him to maintain clarity in the trickiest of passages. He had also large hands, which enabled him to cover 12 or 13 inches of piano (C1 to A2). Additionally, Sergei Rachmaninov was blessed with a beautiful singing tone, which helped him to create a sweet melody out of his compositions.

2. Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989)

Top Pianists of All TimeAgain a Russian-born pianist, Vladimir Horowitz was an all-time great pianist. He left his native country at 21 where he was regarded as a ‘tornado unleashed from the steppes.’ During his career, he had delivered some of the iconic piano compositions such as the Romantic piano repertoire or the Scarlatti. Critics and fans loved him for his virtuoso and extraordinary use of tone color. His performances captivated the audiences with never heard before melodies.

3. Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982)

Top Pianists of All TimeArthur Rubinstein was born in 1887 in Poland who moved to the USA after WWI. This polish born piano legend was renowned for interpreting the music of Chopin. He was able to bring a glowing tone with a diverse range of phrases. Some of his best piano music compositions include Chopin Nocturnes and Live Concert at Moscow Great Hall.

4. Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997)

Top Pianists of All TimeThe next iconic piano musician on our list is Sviatoslav Richter who was born in Russia. Bearing a German descent, Sviatoslav Richter rose to prominence quickly as he had a rock-solid technique with an amazing variety of sound. Sviatoslav Richter had performed in many concerts where he delivered inspiring performances. However, some of his best music performances were the Sofia Recital, Rediscovered Carnegie Hall Recital, and Prokofiev Piano Sonata No 2 & 9.

5. Pierre-Laurent Aimard (b. 1957)

Top Pianists of All TimeBorn in 1957, Pierre-Laurent Aimard is a French pianist who has a penchant for contemporary music. He has also a passion for the recordings of the first two books of Ligeti’s piano études. Besides, he is very committed to every note and sound of the piano, allowing him to create astonishing music compositions for the audiences. His essential recordings include the recording of the Ligeti Piano Etudes, which captivated the audiences with its textural vibrancy.

6. Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)

Top Pianists of All TimeArtur Schnabel is a German-born pianist who is regarded as ‘the man who invented Beethoven.’ He was a specialist in Core German Composition. In fact, he was the first-ever music composer who recorded the first recording of the Beethoven Sonatas. Artur Schnabel was very creative in composing different melodies and he had a close association to German classical composers. Some of his best work includes Schubert (late sonatas) and Beethoven, which are immortal music creation of all time.

7. Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)

Top Pianists of All TimeThe last great piano musician on our list is Thelonious Monk who is an American Jazz pianist and composer. He is considered as the flag-bearer of the Standard American jazz repertoire. What’s more, Thelonious Monk had an unusual yet fascinating approach to composing music. His work including various notable records such as Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington and The Unique Thelonious Monk for Riverside Recordings and Monk’s Dream, Criss Cross, and Underground for Columbia records.

Bottom Line

With so many iconic pianists who wowed the audiences in different era made our work tough. However, the pianists, we have mentioned above were some of the finest in their respective time. So, anyone wishing to be a pianist can start with this list as all these great musicians have shaped the landscape of piano music compositions. Let us know what you think about this list by commenting below!