From March 9 to 23 we have presented the exhibition Muzio Clementi, the Father of the Pianoforte. It has been organized by the Muzio Clementi Association of Barcelona and the Maria Canals International Music Competition and presented in one of the most emblematic musical venues in Catalonia: the Palau de la Música Catalana.

Why an exhibition about Muzio Clementi?

 The purpose of this exhibition, organized by the Muzio Clementi Association of Barcelona and the Maria Canals International Music Competition Association of Barcelona, is to describe and disseminate tje activities of this musician, so crucial figure to the history of the piano, in a new way and one more relevant to our times.

Clementi was so famous that he became known in the London press of the time as the father of modern piano music. Indeed, when he was buried with honours at Westminster Abbey, his epitaph read "The Father of the Pianoforte".

He was a free spirit: well-travelled, modern, brilliant,and a great reader and communicator. In his work, he was second to none: a man of great intelligence and not without a sense of humour. Discovering all this has led to quite a few pleasant surprises.

Generally considered the first in a generation of professional pianists, Clementi, as well as a musician, was both a piano maker and music publisher for thirty years at the beginning of the 1800s. For this reason, we thought it would be interesting to complement our exhibition with a brief overview of the history of the piano. Here we can see an original piano by Collard & Collard. Late Clementi, Collard & Collard, made in London in 1843. The Collard brothers were Clementi’s partners who, after Clementi’s death, continued to run the company. This model is an example of the so-called “square piano”, recently restored, and which sounds similar to those made in the first half of the 19th century.

We wanted to establish a link between past and present, and so commissioned the artist Carme Magem to create a portrait of Clementi with a modern touch. Her collage plays with papers and documents in a way that casts light on his extraordinary life.

In summary, it is clear that at a time when the piano was everyone’s favourite instrument, Clementi, "the father of the pianoforte", did everything he possibly could to help and encourage its use. Thanks to him, and his commitment to excellence, the standard of music in general was raised. This is why we should get to know him better.

It is especially appropriate to put this exhibition on during the Maria Canals International Music Competitionin Barcelona, as it shows the continuity of the pianistic culture throughout past generations and up to the present day.

This is a good time to look at Clementi once again, to rediscover his music and his instruments. Come along with us! It could be a real adventure.


Exhibition organised by:

Concurs Internacional de Música Maria Canals de Barcelona (MCB)

Associació Muzio Clementi de Barcelona (AMCB)

In collaboration with:

Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música Catalana


Marina Rodríguez Brià

Content desing:

Joan Josep Gutiérrez i Marina Rodríguez Brià

Muzio Clementi portrait (2018)

Collage and oil on canvas. 146x114

Painter: Carme Magem.

Square piano:

Collard & Collard, late Clementi, Collard & Collard. London 1843.

Private collection.

English translation:

Catherine Hart