Classical The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time  

Ranker Music
29.9k votes 2.6k voters 35.2k views 156 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest classical pianist in history

Classical music forever shaped the future of music. Most of contemporary music has influences from classical music in some way. Becoming a professional pianist is much more than just hitting the right note. It involves comprehensive music theory, having an ear for rhythm, and the passion for music that simply can't be taught.
 
The piano is one of the most powerful instruments in the music world. Classical composers like Bach and Beethoven used the piano to build the parts for all of the other instruments in their symphonies and other works. Who are the greatest classical pianists of all time?
 
This list features the all time greatest classical pianists, ranked by the community's votes and including Aaron Copland, Jacques Abram, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lang Lang, and George Frideric Handel. Vote up the best classical pianists below or add one you think is the greatest who isn't already on the list.

1
842 272
Sergei Rachmaninoff is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Opera, Art song, Chamber music

2
292 53
Józef Hofmann is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time

3
289 58
Ignaz Friedman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

4
758 308
Vladimir Horowitz is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Guest added Classical music

5
540 276
Arcadi Volodos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
sander-dahlberg added Classical music

6
233 126
William Kapell is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

7
227 124
Wilhelm Backhaus is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
ayşe-öktem added Classical music

8
215 116
Artur Schnabel is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
markuka85 added Classical music

9
217 125
Alexander Scriabin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

10
202 118
Alfred Cortot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
ayşe-öktem added Classical music

11
132 63
Samson François is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
ayşe-öktem added

12
530 401
Glenn Gould is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music

13
182 107
Rudolf Serkin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
ayşe-öktem added Classical music

14
184 110
Walter Gieseking is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

15
475 361
Mikhail Pletnev is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical Music

16
431 324
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
markuka85 added Classical music

17
146 80
Alicia de Larrocha is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
markuka85 added Classical music

18
154 88
Radu Lupu is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

19
228 154
Dinu Lipatti is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
stubb added Classical music

20
190 123
Leopold Godowsky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

21
608 496
Franz Liszt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Opera, Romantic music, Art song

22
205 138
Anton Rubinstein is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Opera, Chamber music

23
334 254
Ervin Nyiregyházi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
iub92564 added

24
278 205
Claudio Arrau is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
markuka85 added Classical music

25
166 106
Béla Bartók is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Opera, Ballet, Art song

26
207 143
Vladimir Sofronitsky is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

27
121 66
Josef Lhévinne is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

28
468 382
Martha Argerich is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music

29
277 210
Grigory Sokolov is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

30
513 430
Krystian Zimerman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music

31
104 55
Edwin Fischer is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

32
118 68
Jorge Bolet is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

33
134 83
Earl Wild is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music

34
95 48
Ivan Moravec is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

35
105 60
Yefim Bronfman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

36
108 63
Nelson Freire is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Marcos Lopes added

37
349 300
Evgeny Kissin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical Music

38
154 112
Georges Cziffra is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

39
255 211
Marc-André Hamelin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical Music

40
79 44
Benno Moiseiwitsch is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

41
56 22
Ferruccio Busoni is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Opera, Chamber music, 20th-century classical music

42
217 186
Vladimir Ashkenazy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music

43
242 215
Arthur Rubinstein is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
stubb added Classical music

44
293 268
Sviatoslav Richter is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
sander-dahlberg added Piano, Classical music

45
98 71
Sergei Prokofiev is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added Opera, Ballet, Ballet

46
102 77
Daniil Trifonov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
gnicholls added

47
180 160
Emil Gilels is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
markuka85 added Classical music

48
152 132
Wilhelm Kempff is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
ayşe-öktem added Opera, Classical music

49
365 360
Frédéric Chopin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Romantic music, Art song, Classical music

50
168 152
Alfred Brendel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time
Classical music