Celebrated LGBTQ Pianists

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LGBTQ Pianists have a celebrated history in music and are prominent in a wide range of genres. The world famous classical gay pianist Vladimir Horowitz is quoted as once saying 'There are three types of pianists: Jewish, gay, and bad'.

Well known artists from the community can be found in classical music (including Sviatoslav Richter, Baron Benjamin Britten, and Percy Grainger), jazz (such as Billy Strayhorn and Tony Jackson), rock (Dee Palmer), and contemporary pop (including Elton John and Neil Milan Amin-Smith). Many are also well-known songwriters, composers and conductors.

A great number of LGBTQ pianists have been recognized with high honours. These include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Grammy Award, Commandeur de la Legion d'honneur, and others.

A provocative debate has been ongoing as to whether being LGBTQ has an influence on the individual's musical style and success, and whether it is possible to tell from the playing whether a pianist is LGBTQ. Without doubt, an individuals' character and milieu is reflected in their creative output, whether that be music, art, literature, or any other profession. With historically closeted homosexuals, one can often interpret a strain of personal frustration or secret passion in their work.

We have identified the following celebrated global LGBTQ pianists. Simply click on their name to read their fascinating biographies:






Great Britain






United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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