Muzio Clementi was a composer and a performer of multiple keyboard instruments. He was one of the first to embrace and realise the potential of the piano, and his unparalleled virtuosity and innovative way of composing led him to be deemed “the father of the piano.”
Born in Italy as the oldest of seven children, Clementi was quickly recognised as a prodigy by his parents, who arranged for him to take lessons with many of the finest organists in Rome, including Antonio Boroni and Giuseppi Santarelli. By the time he was only thirteen he was given his first employment, as church organist for the San Lorenzo Church. He also composed his first oratorio around this time. However, less than a year after receiving this position, Clementi was discovered by a travelling well-to-do Englishman, Peter Beckford. Beckford was so impressed by Clementi’s talent that he essentially, in his own words “bought Clementi of[f] his father for seven years,” bringing him back to his estate in Wiltshire, where Clementi lived and studied harpsichord in productive obscurity until the seven years were over. He also wrote a variety of pieces for keyboard during this time, although unfortunately only his six keyboard sonatas survived.