Stephen Heller (16 May 1813, Budapest ? 14 January 1888, Paris) was a Hungarian composer and pianist whose career spanned the period from Schumann to Bizet, and was an influence for later Romantic composers.
Heller had been destined for a legal career, but instead decided to devote his life to music. At the age of nine he performed Dussek's concerto for two pianos with his teacher, F. Brauer at the Budapest theater. He played so well that he was sent to study under Carl Czerny. Anton Halm was his principal master, and at the age of twelve he undertook a concert tour through Vienna, Germany, Poland and Hungary. Later on in his years, he went to study in Vienna, Austria.
After passing the winter of 1830 at Hamburg, Heller returned to Budapest by way of Cassel, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, and Augsburg. At Augsburg, he was taken ill, and was soon afterwards adopted by a wealthy patron of music.
At the age of 25, he travelled to Paris, where he became closely acquainted with Hector Berlioz, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and other renowned composers of his era. Here Heller eventually achieved distinction both as a concert performer and as a teacher. In 1849 he performed in England, and in 1862 he played Mozart's E-flat concerto for two pianos with Charles Hallé at The Crystal Palace. With these brief interruptions, the last twenty-five years of his life were spent at Paris. He outlived his reputation, and was almost forgotten when he died in 1888.
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