Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and one of the greatest virtuoso pianists in history. Liszt was at the centre of salon life in the 1830s in Paris, where he cultivated many of his ideals about music and its relationship with the other arts, however in his later years, Liszt became more attached to his native Hungary. One of his most notable contributions to composition was his invention of the symphonic poem, which went side by side with substantial developments in musical form, harmony and thematic transformation.
He was born in Doborján, Hungary which is now known as Raiding and is part of Austria. He was an intensely patriotic Hungarian, something he shared with many of his ancestors. However, he grew up as a German speaker and never fully mastered the Hungarian language, which was no different to most Magyars born in his era in the same region.
Liszt began piano lessons with his father in his sixth year, and after 22 months, showed outstanding progress, already being able to play repertoire by Mozart, Hummel, Clementi and Bach in such a short time. He performed in public at the age of 9 in Oedenburg which was such a success that his father arranged a more significant concert soon after in Pressburg, (now Bratislava) for a large audience, among them many noblemen including Michael Esterházy, who later funded Liszt’s education abroad. The first ever review of Franz Liszt's piano playing was published in the Pressburger Zeitung, reporting that his playing "was beyond admiration and justifies the highest hopes". His debut concert in Pressburg garnered him attention and strategically positioned him on the path to what would be a long and successful career as one of the most outstanding piano virtuosi the world has ever known.