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Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist, was born in Raiding near Sopron on 22 October 1811. He made his debut at the age of nine and subsequently studied in Vienna with Czerny and Salieri. Later on in Paris he came to know all the principal artistic figures of the period and was influenced by Hector Berlioz, Frederic Chopin and Nicolo Paganini. He lived with Mme. D'Agoult (better known by her pen name, Daniel Stern) between 1833 and 1844 and they had three children. Their daughter Cosima became the wife of Hans von Bülow and later married Wagner.
Liszt's reputation as a performer rests mainly on the great tours of Europe and Asia Minor which he undertook between 1838 and 1847. In 1848 he was persuaded by Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein, whom he had met in Kiev a few months earlier, to give up his career as a travelling virtuoso and to concentrate upon composition. He accepted an appointment to settle at Weimar where he lived with the princess for the next twelve years, a period during which he wrote or revised many of the major works for which he is known.
In the face of increasing opposition at Weimar and hoping that the Pope would sanction a divorce for the Princess, Liszt moved to Rome in 1861, composing mainly religious music for the next eight years. Invited to return to Weimar to give master classes in piano in 1869 and given a similar invitation to return to Budapest two years later, he spent the remaining years of his life making regular journeys between Rome, Weimar and Budapest. He died on 31 July 1886 in Bayreuth, Bavaria.
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- Liszt, Franz (Archiefvormer)