The Best Pianists in the World

Over 69.8K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Pianists in the World
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Vote up the best modern pianists in the world.

The piano is one of the most popular and most diverse musical instruments in the world. The instrument has permeated through dozens of genres of music, lending itself to help create some of the most moving and emotional pieces of music in history. The people on this list are masters of the piano and are considered giants in the musical world, such as Lang Lang, Ludovico Einaudi, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, and Grigory Sokolov. 

Whether you recognize these musicians or not, they've all carved a place out for themselves in the music business and have become influential and prominent figures in the industry. They are some of the most famous male pianists ever, and there are many talented famous female piano players as well. If you love geeking out on music, then we definitely recommend listening to some of their musical compositions. 

So, take a look through this list of living contemporary musicians, and vote up your favorite modern pianist in the world! 

Most divisive: Maurizio Pollini
Ranked by
  • Fazıl Say

    Fazıl Say

    4,005 votes

    A Turkish virtuoso, this artist masterfully combines elements of Western classical music with traditional Turkish folk tunes, creating a unique and captivating sound that has garnered international acclaim. With exceptional technical skills and a profound understanding of the piano's expressive capabilities, he has become a prominent figure in both classical and contemporary music circles. His innovative compositions and mesmerizing performances have not only elevated the genre but also introduced countless listeners to the rich musical traditions of his homeland.

  • Franz Liszt
    2,238 votes

    A Hungarian composer and piano prodigy, this musician's dazzling technique and unparalleled ability to convey emotion through his playing revolutionized the world of classical music in the 19th century. Known for his incredible virtuosity, he was one of the first performers to give solo piano recitals, showcasing his extraordinary talents to captivated audiences across Europe. His lasting influence on piano music can be heard in the works of countless composers who followed in his footsteps, solidifying his status as a true giant in the history of the instrument.

  • Vladimir Horowitz

    Considered one of the greatest pianists of all time, this Russian-born musician's electrifying performances were marked by an uncanny ability to express complex emotions through seemingly effortless technique. Known for his fiery interpretations of Romantic-era masterpieces, he captivated audiences around the world with his extraordinary dynamic range and breathtakingly precise fingerwork. Despite facing numerous personal challenges throughout his life, including exile from his native country during World War II, he remained steadfastly committed to sharing the beauty of piano music with generations of listeners.

  • Arthur Rubinstein

    Hailing from Poland, this legendary pianist is remembered for his warm and deeply expressive style that brought out the emotional depth of every piece he performed. A consummate performer, he had an innate ability to connect with audiences through his genuine love for music and seemingly endless repertoire spanning multiple genres. As an influential mentor to many young pianists, his legacy lives on through countless recordings and the enduring impact he had on the world of classical music.

  • Frédéric Chopin

    A Polish composer and virtuoso pianist, this artist is renowned for his exquisite melodies, innovative harmonic structures, and unparalleled ability to evoke deep emotions through his playing. With a unique gift for writing piano music that pushed the boundaries of the instrument's capabilities, he revolutionized the genre and inspired generations of musicians who followed in his footsteps. His timeless compositions continue to resonate with audiences worldwide, solidifying his status as one of history's greatest musical geniuses.

  • Sviatoslav Richter

    Widely regarded as one of the most talented pianists of the 20th century, this Soviet musician's powerful and deeply emotional performances earned him a dedicated following around the world. With an astonishingly vast repertoire and an unerring ability to bring out the nuances in each piece he played, he was a true master of his craft. His relentless pursuit of perfection and unwavering dedication to his art led him to become one of the most respected figures in the world of classical music.