Field first studied the piano under his grandfather (also named John Field), who was a professional organist, and later under Tommaso Giordani. He made his debut at the age of nine, a performance that was well-received, on 24th March 1792 in Dublin. His family moved to Bath in 1793, and later that same year went to London. Field's father there secured for him an apprenticeship with the pianist and piano manufacturer Muzio Clementi.
He attracted favourable comment from Joseph Haydn for his performances. By the time he was seventeen, Field had already premiered his first piano concerto (he wrote seven of them); it was one of the last acts of his apprenticeship. He was lionized as a performer for several years before turning to composition, beginning with his first set of piano sonatas, dedicated to Clementi, published in 1801. In 1801 Field accompanied Clementi on a tour of Paris and Vienna (where he studied briefly with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger). When Clementi moved to Russia, Field followed him there, continuing his employment demonstrating his pianos.
Field established his own concert career in Russia, and by 1806 was dividing his time between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, settling in the latter city after his marriage in 1810. By 1831 his health deteriorated and, suffering from a painful cancer of the rectum he travelled back to London for medical attention. After treatment he returned to Russia by way of France (where, after first hearing one of Franz Liszt's assaults on the keyboard, he asked his neighbour, "Does he bite?") and Italy, spending nine months in a hospital in Naples. Helped by a Russian aristocratic family, he returned to Moscow in 1835, and gave three concerts in Vienna en route, as a guest of Carl Czerny. In Moscow, he composed his last few nocturnes in the sixteen months remaining to him.
He died in Moscow two years later, on 23rd January 1837. Field is best remembered for his eighteen nocturnes which are single movement impromptu compositions for piano that maintain a single mood throughout. The first three of these date from 1812. These pieces are further notable for their influence on Frédéric Chopin, who went on to write twenty-one nocturnes himself. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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