Alfred Brendel KBE (born 5 January 1931) is an Austrian pianist, poet and author, known particularly for his performances of Mozart, Schubert, Schoenberg, and especially Beethoven
Brendel was born in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia (now Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic) to a non-musical family. They moved to Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), when Brendel was six where he began piano lessons with Sofija Deželić. He later moved to Graz, Austria, and studied piano with Ludovica von Kaan at the Graz Conservatory and composition with Artur Michel. Towards the end of World War II, the 14-year-old Brendel was sent back to Yugoslavia to dig trenches.
After the war, Brendel composed music, as well as continuing to play the piano, to write and to paint. However, he never had more formal piano lessons and, although he attended master classes with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann, he was largely self-taught after the age of sixteen