STEPHEN HELLER (1813 - 1888)
Stephen Heller was born in Hungary but made his career in Paris after earlier patronage from members of the Fugger family in Augsburg, from where he contributed to Schumann’s Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (‘New Chronicle for Music’). In Paris, where he settled in 1838, he earned a living as a teacher, composer and writer, in later years supported by charitable subscription arranged by Charles Hallé, Robert Browning and Lord Leighton.
Heller wrote a very large amount of piano music, including a quantity of studies that tended to eclipse his reputation in other genres of piano music. These latter included pieces of all kinds, including variations, character pieces, operatic transcriptions and fantasies, and a small number of sonatas, along with many dance movements and smaller forms like nocturnes, waltzes, caprices and scherzos. His career spans the period from Schumann to Massenet and Bizet, and his music suggests the paths to be taken by later Romantic composers such as Rachmaninov and Medtner.