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Muzio Clementi Edit Profile

Composer , conductor , editor , pedagogue , pianist , piano manufacturer , music publisher

Muzio Filippo Vincenzo Francesco Saverio Clementi was an Italian-born British composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer.


Muzio Filippo Vincenzo Francesco Saverio Clementi (baptized Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius) was born in Rome, Italy, on 23 January 1752, and baptized the following day at San Lorenzo in Damaso. He was the eldest of the seven children of Nicolò Clementi (1720–1789), a silversmith, and Madalena, née Caisar (Magdalena Kaiser), who was Swiss.


At the age of seven Clementi began studies in figured bass with the organist Cordicelli, followed by voice lessons from Giuseppe Santarelli. A few years later, probably when he was 11 or 12, he was given counterpoint lessons by Gaetano Carpani. By the age of 13 Clementi had already composed an oratorio, Martirio de' gloriosi santi Giuliano e Celso, and a mass.


He continued his studies under Santarelli and Carpani, and at the age of fourteen wrote a mass which was performed in public.

In that year he first appeared in London, where his success both as composer and pianist was rapid and brilliant.

In 1777 he was for some time employed as conductor of the Italian opera, but he soon afterwards left London for Paris.

Mozart may be said to have closed the old and Clementi to have founded the newer school of technique on the piano.

His concerts were crowded by enthusiastic audiences, and the same success accompanied Clementi on a tour about the year 1780 to southern Germany and Austria.

His technical skill proved to be equal if not superior to that of his rival, who on the other hand infinitely surpassed him by the passionate beauty of his interpretation.

He then established a pianoforte and music , business of his own, under the name of Clementi & Co.

Other members were added to the firm, including Collard and Davis, and the firm was ultimately taken over by Messrs Collard alone.

Amongst his pupils on the pianoforte during this period may be mentioned John Field, the composer of the celebrated Nocturnes.

In his company Clementi paid, in 1804, a visit to ' Paris, Vienna, St Petersburg, Berlin and other cities.

While he was in Berlin, Meyerbeer became one of his pupils.

He also revisited his own country after an absence of more than thirty years.

Several symphonies belong to this time, and were played with much success at contemporary concerts, but none of them seem to have been published.

Amongst Clementi's compositions the most remarkable are sixty sonatas for pianoforte, and the great collection of Etudes called Gradus ad Parnassum.

Clementi moved to the outskirts of Lichfield, Staffordshire, in 1830, and spent his final years in Evesham, Worcestershire, where, on 10 March 1832, after a short illness, he died, aged eighty.


  • At Vienna, which he visited between 1781 and 1782, he was received with high honour by the emperor Joseph II, in whose presence he met Mozart, and fought a kind of musical duel with him.


In 1813 Clementi was appointed a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.


He had been married three times and had five children, a son Carl by his second wife Caroline Lehmann, the others, Vincent, Caecilia, Caroline and John Muzio by his third and final wife, Emma Gisborne. Among his descendants are the British colonial administrators Sir Cecil Clementi Smith and Sir Cecil Clementi, Air Vice Marshal Cresswell Clementi of the RAF and Sir David Clementi a deputy-governor of the Bank of England.