Do You Know Who was a Master of Promoting Piano in the Late 1700's?
It was Muzio Clementi.
The following is from the book Piano Roles, by James Parakilas
Muzio Clementi did it all. By the age of fourteen, in 1766, he had been appointed to a position as a church organist
and sacred vocal music. At that point he was scooped up by a rich Englishman, Peter Beckford, who paid Clementi's father
to let him bring the boy to his estate in Dorset, where in addition to providing musical entertainment, Clementi spent long
hours, for seven years, turning himself into a keyboard virtuoso with unprecedented skills. Thereupon he set out for London,
where he made a name and fortune for himself as a performer and composer of keyboard music.
He performed to sensational effect in other European capitals as well, taught some
of the greatest pianists of the next generation, and created pedagogical works of
lasting value for piano students, from beginners to the most advanced.
Investing his earnings in a piano-manufacturing and music-publishing firm, he became a leader in building a piano-centered musical culture, in England and across Europe, around a combination of English pianos and the music of his
Viennese contemporaries, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Four years older than Mozart, he was still active in business, if no longer in performing or composing, after the deaths of both Beethoven and Schubert.
Clementi's musical life will be used here as a frame for telling the story of the piano in what is now routinely called the Classical period. The point of choosing this frame, however, is not simply that Clementi's career touched all facets of the piano life. It is more apt to claim that in this period he was more thoroughly and deeply involved than any other single person in revolutionizing the musical culture of Europe around the piano.
He played all of his roles on one side of that process, as a producer and marketer of music, performances, instruments, instruction, and opinion. On the other side stood the public, which played a complementary role in this cultural revolution by adapting itself to new practices.
From: Piano Roles, by James Parakilas