Clementi, Muzio (1752-1832)

Muzio Clementi (1752-1832), sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Pianoforte,” was born in Rome and was something of a child prodigy, writing musical compositions at an early age. His early works were heard by Peter Beckford, an English MP visiting Rome at the time. Beckford decided to sponsor the young boy, who went back with him to London. Clementi rose to fame in England, becoming an accomplished pianist, composer, and teacher. Clementi was an astute businessman and became wealthy enough to purchase the piano manufacturing firm Longman & Broderip in 1798. The firm became known as Longman, Clementi & Co. until 1800, when Longman left the firm. The name of Clementi’s firm changed according to the partners gained and lost over the years until 1822, when Frederick William Collard joined the firm. The square pianos made by the firm, enhanced by Clementi’s experience as a pianist and composer, were made to have a lighter touch similar to a Viennese action. This is compared to other English square pianos at the time which had a heavier touch due to the English action. Upon Clementi’s death in 1832, the name of the company became Collard & Collard.

Literature References:

Clinkscale, M., 2006. Makers of the piano, 1700-1820. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.67.

Sahlqvist, L., 2013. Clementi & Co 1798–1830: Pianoforte Manufacture in London. Square Piano Tech.

Schott, H., 1998. Catalogue of musical instrument in the Victoria and Albert Museum Part One: Keyboard Instruments. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, p.79-81.