Brendel is an Austrian pianist, poet and author, known particularly for his performances of Mozart, Schubert, Schoenberg, and especially Beethoven. Born in Wiesenberg, northern Moravia (now the Czech Republic) to a non-musical family, Brendel is a self-taught musician. Nevertheless, his place among the greatest musicians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is assured. Brendel's discography is now among the most extensive of any pianist.
Brendel has been recipient of many major music prizes, including the Leonie Sonning Prize 2002, Ernst von Siemens-Musikpreis 2004, Prix Venezia: Premio Artur Rubinstein 2007, Praemium Imperiale Tokyo 2008 and Herbert von Karajan Prize 2008. He received the Hans von Bülow Medal of the Berlin Philharmonic 1992, the Beethoven-Ring of the Vienna Music University 2001, the Franz Liszt Ehrenpreis 2011, the Juillard Medal 2011 and the Golden Mozart Medal of the Salzburg Mozarteum 2014. In October 2016 he was honoured with the ECHO KLASSIK Life Achievement Award.