A miniature crystal piano resting on a piano keyboard DIANA WALKER
J.S. Bach

J. S. Bach - 1685 to 1750

If you consider him the greatest composer of all time, you would be in very good company. He had four talented sons to carry on the family traditions.

J.C. Bach

J. C. Bach - 1735 to 1782

J. S. Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian, went to Italy to learn how to write operas, which at that time was the 17th century version of movies. He changed his name to Giovanni Bach and became a Catholic (which would not have pleased his Lutheran father.) Then he heard that England was the land of opportunity and took off for London. He changed his name to John Bach and joined the Church of England. While in London he took on as a student a traveling concert artist in his teens named Mozart.

W. A. Mozart

W.A. Mozart - 1756 to 1791

Another contender for the title of world's greatest composer. During his time in Vienna he became friends with Joseph Haydn. And while Haydn wasn't his student, Haydn was influenced by his young friend. Haydn's music changed after his association with Mozart.


F. J. Haydn - 1732 to 1809

Haydn is known as the father of the modern symphony. He took on as a student an unruly country bumpkin named Beethoven. Beethoven's early works have Haydn's fingerprints all over them.

L. V. Beethoven

L. V. Beethoven - 1770 to 1827

Another contender for greatest composer and the only one who did it with a handicap. He was deaf. When he first came to Vienna, before his deafness, he was a sought after performer and teacher. One of his students was Carl Czerny.

C. Czerny

Carl Czerny - 1791 to 1857

He was a famous teacher and composer of technical studies. Any advanced pianist will be familiar with his books on technique. One of his students was Franz Liszt.

F. Liszt

F. Liszt - 1811 to 1886

Franz Liszt was the piano's first superstar. He invented the piano recital as we know it today. He was the first pianist to play an entire program by himself. He was the first to turn the piano to the side (so people could admire his profile). He taught the next three generations of concert pianists. Among his students was Arthur de Greef.

Arthur De Greef

A. de Greef - 1862 to 1940

Arthur de Greef was a Belgium composer and concert pianist. One of his students was Guillaume (Gui) Mombaerts.


Guillaume (Gui) Mombaerts - 1902 to 1993

Gui Mombaerts was the head of the piano department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I applied to grad school there and sent him a recording. He sent me a letter offering me a full tuition scholarship, a work-study fellowship, and a place in his piano studio.


Diana Walker

Students who study with me are part of a line that goes all the way back to J. S. Bach. There is a secret about making music that has been handed down from teacher to student which I'm now going to tell you. When Bach was asked the secret he said, "I work hard." Now you know.