Stephen Heller was born in Pest, Hungary in 1815.
He demonstrated musical talent from a very early age and had been destined for a legal career but chose music.
Career & Life
By the age of nine, his father sent him to Vienna to study with Czerny. However, this proved too expensive and Heller was instead taught by Anton Halm. Halm then introduced him to Schubert and Beethoven in 1818.
In 1828 when Heller was still just fourteen he undertook an extended tour of Hungary, Poland and Germany. This proved financially rewarding but impacted badly on his health and led to him experiencing a nervous breakdown.
On his return a member of the Augsburg aristocracy employed him as her children’s musical tutor enabling Heller to recover and study composition. He became acquainted with Robert Schumann who encouraged and assisted him in obtaining a publisher and allocated him a pseudonym used for his critiques in the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik.
Aged twenty five Heller went to Paris where he earned a living composing, arranging and writing a book (L’art de phraser). He rarely played in public and it wasn’t until 1862 that he performed a series of concerts in England with Hallé on two pianos.
Heller stayed in Paris for the remaining twenty five years of his life. However, his eyesight began to deteriorate in 1883. His close friend Charles Hallé, Robert Browning and Lord Leighton arranged through the English to provide an annuity for Heller to enjoy for the rest of his life.
Further Reading & Musical Downloads
On music-scores.com we have a download of Heller’s Avalanche for you Heller Avalanche Sheet Music.