1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Heller, Stephen

20162421911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 13 — Heller, Stephen

HELLER, STEPHEN (1815–1888), Austrian pianist and composer, was born at Pest on the 15th of May 1815. (Fétis’s dictionary says 1814, but this is almost certainly wrong.) He was at first intended for a lawyer, but at nine years of age performed so successfully at a concert that he was sent to Vienna to study under Czerny. Halm was his principal master, and from the age of twelve he gave concerts in Vienna, and made a tour through Hungary, Poland and Germany. At Augsburg he had the good fortune to be befriended when ill by a wealthy family, who practically adopted him and gave him the opportunity to complete his musical education. In 1838 he went to Paris, and soon became intimate with Liszt, Chopin, Berlioz and their set, among whom was Hallé, throughout his life an indefatigable performer of Heller’s music. In 1849 he came to England and played a few times, and in 1862 he appeared with Hallé at the Crystal Palace. He outlived the great reputation he had enjoyed among cultivated amateurs for so many years, and was almost forgotten when he died at Paris on the 14th of January 1888. His pianoforte pieces, almost all of them published in sets and provided with fancy names, do not show very startling originality, but their grace and refinement could not but make them popular with players and listeners of all classes.