Alfred Brendel is an Austrian pianist, born in Czechoslovakia. He is widely regarded as one of the great classical pianists of the second half of the 20th century.
Brendel gave his first public recital in Graz at the age of seventeen. He called it 'The Fugue In Piano Literature', and as well as fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt, it included some of Brendel's own compositions. However, he gave up composing shortly after this to concentrate on the piano. In 1949 he won 4th prize in the Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy and moved to Vienna the following year. At the age of 21, he made his first record, Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 5. He went on to make a string of other records, including three complete sets of the Ludwig van Beethoven piano sonatas (one on Vox and two on Philips). He has also recorded works by Liszt, Brahms (including Brahms' Concertos), Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. Unlike virtually all classical pianists, he has recorded very little Chopin other than the Polonaises (which, interestingly, have been highly praised).