Greatest Piano Concertos of All Time


What are the 10 greatest Piano Concertos of all time? Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

Beethoven's 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto
I do love Rachmaninov and probably would have given his 2nd Piano Concerto the top, until I heard this piece in concert for the first time several years ago. These votes can only be about those very razor-edge personal preferences so I will only focus on trying to explain that side of it. I suppose my heart chooses it above anything else because I feel the gamete of positive energies about life. The first movement feels like a complete whirlwind of complex, cascading and harmonious melodies. It deconstructs the mind while at the same time opens it to the sublime 2nd movement. While a second movement can often fall flat emotionally for me, I would never get tired of listening this one, where notes seem to fall like delicate drops of pensive rain. The pinnacle of the concerto for me, and perhaps one of the greatest highs to be found in all of music, is the incredible transition in last minute at the end of the 2nd where a simple theme is introduced and then just explodes out into a powerful 3rd movement in the structure of the 7-part rondo. I am in awe at the originality and beauty of this piece. One of my great regrets in life is that I came to this piece relatively late in my classical listening life when compared to the Mozart Piano Concertos and the Beethoven Symphonies. When I think how often I listened to the 5th, 7th, and 9th symphonies growing up, it is a regret to me that I did not have this piece in this same mix. On an emotional level, it would be a great tragedy for me if someone were to live their entire life and never heard this concerto from start to finish.
The first and third movements are, of course, well-written and well-orchestrated, as one would expect from Beethoven. However, it is the second movement which truly astounds. It has such a simple melody, yet is so profound and powerful at the same time. The power of this movement is what sets the "Emperor" concerto above all others of its genre.
It is the greatest work ever written for piano concerto. I believe that it should be in the first rank. It is very powerful and full of energy.
[Newest]I first heard this Concerto when I was 12. I am now 56 and my love for this piece hasn't waned. I often listen to it at night before going to sleep. It is a colossal work that from the very first notes has the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Magical.

2Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto
Nearly 140 years later, the incredible originality of this work may be lost on some. But NO ONE had ever written a concerto like this before. The wild prestissimo in the second movement has moments that are almost atonal (in fact Tchaikovsky was called by a critic of the time an ULTRA MODERN composer! ). But innovation alone doesn't make a work great: this work has surpassing dramatic power as well as beauty. The gradual crescendo in the final movement before the octave peroration always gets me. No other piece quite like it.
It's grand structure surpasses nearly all other piano concertos out there. The thematic material is so beautiful and peaceful. How could you not love it?
absolute stunner, the first movement is just amazing, and makes me tingle a lot when I hear it
[Newest]Nothing even comes close

3Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto
After every movement, you wonder "the next can't possibly be as good - but it is. All three movements, despite very different moods, are beautifully linked together. This is perhaps my all-time favorite classical piece of music. A masterpiece.
I love Rachmaninov. This composition is simply beautiful. When I first listen to the first movement I am immediately captured by the tune. Especially in in the second movement where he creates this romantic back and forth between the orchestra and piano. I simply wish people supported the classical music more than that of the pop culture currently existing.
Easily the best Concerto ever. An avid classical music lover and performer. Every movement could stand in it's own. I sing and have cherished every moment of singing some of the great choral pieces if all time with large choral groups and orchestras but I can only imagine what the joy and sense of accomplishment it must be to perform this piece with a world renowned orchestra. Truly must be an inspirational feeling. Closer to God!
[Newest]This piece deserves to be considered as the best of all time as much for the incredibly rich orchestral accompaniment as for the unrivalled solo thematic material and level of sheer concentration and endurance necessary to perform it.

4Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto
No other single piece of music has ever come so close to perfection as the iconic 'Rach 3'. Just the very mention of the nickname sends chills up any budding pianist's spine. As Everest is to the climber, Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto cemented it's place in history when Rachmaninoff himself held up his hands after it's debut, unable to play an encore due to exhaustion. One would think that what has become universally known as the single most difficult piece of music ever written for the piano is also one of the most hauntingly beautiful and lyrical pieces of music anywhere. It is pieces such as this and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, that ushered in the period of atonality, because composers could not longer do better. Rachmaninoff on several occasions peaked the art form with such searing beauty that the competition folded. Detractors such as Stravinsky, once wrote extremely tonal and lyrical music which besides a few obscure pieces, none of us remember today. Everyone remembers the 'Rach 3'. It's place in history is secure. WITHOUT QUESTION, Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto is the greatest piano concerto ever written now and forevermore.
This in my opinion is the best piece of music of any type. Maybe even the peak of human achievement. Difficult beyond belief yet beautiful. Rolling difficult passages surge beneath the main melody. Powerful some times and delicate at other times. The only thing close is Rachmaninov's 2nd and Grieg's piano concerto.
Hard to beat the famous cadenza, and the 2nd to 3rd movement transition is breathtaking and astounding.
[Newest]All movements of this concerto are fantastic! There is so much complexity, yet Rachmaninov is able to get his beautiful melodies across. In my opinion, this concerto is more suited for the 2nd or 3rd slots. I would have Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto in the 1 slot.

5Mozart's 20th Piano Concerto
In my opinion, this is Mozart's best piano concerto. It is mysterious, lyrical, passionate, and leaves the listener in utter awe. I think it even surpasses the piano concertos of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. It is daring and difficult, but serene and tranquil. Only beauty such as this could be conceived by our dear Mozart.
The most remarkable 30 minutes of musical pleasure I know of in more than 50 years of watching the greats play this piece.
With 24th piano concerto in c-minor, this is Mozart's best piano concerto. I love it!
[Newest]Mysterious, lyrical, passionate definitely. Absolutely beautiful!

6Grieg's Piano Concerto
It's beautiful lines soar and the small solo bursts from other instruments bring this from any other concerto to one that captivates and mesmerizes every time, especially due to the beautiful cadenzas as well as the tones that can break your heart from beauty.
Griegs most well known and best composition.


One of the most soaring and beautiful pieces ever written.

7Modern Piano Concerto No.1 by Leszek Jasionowski
This concerto is an excellent example of "montage of attraction" in music.
It's got five amazing movements and never a dull moment.
Written in 2012, opens a new epoch in the piano concerto literature
[Newest]This is the longest (over 60 minutes) and most tuneful piano concerto ever written.

8Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto
Wonderful, joyful concerto. My favorite concerto and Mozart piece. The third movement leaves me speechless every time. This concerto leaved me overjoyed in an indescribable way.
One of Mozart's most well known pieces of music. Very soft and exquisite themes.


Pleasing, profound and uplifting. It soothes the soul and engages the mind. So beautiful.

9Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1
Chopin's Piano Concerto 1 transmits the various emotion into my innermost. I love this concerto so much, especially 1st movement. In my opinion Yundi Li is the best interpreter of this piece
The intensity of the first movement and the delicacy of the second movement and the climax in the third are what make this piece so wonderful~
It's really beautiful and reminds us of the beauty of the piano itself, its unique self in between the orchestra. The finale is really beautiful.
[Newest]Simply work of genius

10Brahms Piano Concerto no.2 in B flat major
I believe that Brahms 2nd is the most magnificent piano concerto ever written. It is on my list of the top 5 compositions of all time along with Beethoven's 5th symphony, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Schubert's 20th piano sonata and Beethoven's 13th quartet (with Grosse fugue).
I Think of this as one of the most complete piano concertos ever made. Brahms merges himself with the future and the past.
A piano concerto on the grand scale. Complete in emotional depth, sophisticated in intellectual content, and breathtakingly beautiful, this is a true masterpiece.
[Newest]One of the most intricate and demanding pieces, ever composed by a composer that has demanded no less than perfection in all of his works.

The Contenders

11Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 1

12Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1
This should definitely be in the Top 5! An underrated concerto, it is difficult to understand, but absolutely amazing when you understand it. The orchestral parts are the works of a genius. A grand, temptestuous opening begins the first movement while in other places the atmosphere is dark and devastating. The second movement is extremely wonderful and emotional, while the third grasps the listener's attention immediately.
Turbulent and passionate, it never lets up. A smaller canvas than Brahms' No. 2, but one of the greats.
Brahms finished this when he was only 25... Outstanding work.


[Newest]Should be in the top5.

13Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3
Some people, including myself, claim that this concerto is better than Beethoven's No.5


To my mind, this concerto is better than Beethoven's No.5
I would find this Piano Concerto more beautiful than #5, but #5 is more powerful and more difficult.

14Mozart's 24th Piano Concerto
Considered to be one of Mozarts best compositions which says it all.


If god exists - he is heard in thismasterpeice

15Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2
I believe it to show every stage of romance from the start falling in love all the way to coming to terms with heartbreak
As fantastic as Chopin's piano concerto number 1, both concertos are the paramount of classical music and all music
Both Chopin's piano concertos are amazing, beautiful melody, extraordinary phrasing, contrasting, dramatic, full of nostalgy, fast and slow, tempo bravura, and lyrical, and can be listen over and over. In addition, God knows why so called music experts are complaining about orchestra score, both concertos are perfectly balanced and if you really want to understand how to play listen to Kristian Zimerman's interpretation with Polish Festival Orchestra

16Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto No.5 'Egyptian'
The most beautiful first movement, gives me goosebumps every time!
2nd movement with nice exotic element.
3rd movement how exciting is this? Love it love it! Especially the recap!
Camille was to Egypte to composing

17Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor
Probably my favourite orchestral work of all time, maybe tied with Tchaikovskys Violin Concerto. The first movement when done right is tragic yet hopeful at the same time, in contrast to the short and sweet intermezzo before the final cheerful and triumphant last movement. The whole work seems to be filled with such contrast, but it's all tied together by the opening motif which is repeated throughout in various guises.
One of the most amazing works by Robert Schumann, a masterpiece. The beautiful first movement, the short and sweet intermezzo connected to the cheerful major third movement contrasts with each other very well.
What a unity of structure... The opening motif keeps ringing throughout the whole work. Very lucid

18Bach's Concerto I in D minor, BWV 1052

19Ravel - Piano Concerto In G-major
Incredible stuff, there are times I will listen to this almost every night. It has almost a progressive-rock quality to it, especially the first movement.

20Mozart Piano Concerto No.23

21Beethoven Piano Concerto no.4 in G
Without doubt the Beethoven 4th is the absolute pinnacle of piano concertos. Although this will always be a matter of opinion, I remember as a young boy first hearing this incredible piece and saying to myself (of course I had not even yet heard the Rach 2 and 3! ) there is something VERY different about this work. I eventually learned the concerto and grew to love and appreciate it EVEN MORE and my opinion has NEVER EVER waivered. Most pianists (musicians) that I know who also think of the B 4th as the greatest piano concerto have likewise ALWAYS felt this way. There is simply no other work like it. The Emperor, as great as it is, is still very typical Beethoven. The 4th is in a category all it's own and those who know this have always known this. What a tragedy that the manuscript was lost!
The greatest. Sublime. Transcendent. I can't find words to express what I feel when listening this music. Notes just go trough me
Incredible throughout its three movements.
The second movement is astonishingly "avant-guard" and
Full of drama.
I rate this concerto even higher than Beethoven´┐Ż's more
Famous 5th piano concerto (Emperor).
[Newest]Best piano concerto by Beethoven out of the 5 piano concertos.

22Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2

23Paderewski Piano Concerto A Minor Op.17
Superb, extraordinary, beautiful but yet forgotten, very sad

24Saint-Seans - Piano Concerto No. 2
Saint Saens, definitely the most underrated of composers.
My favourite and one of the best (in my humble opinion) piano concertos of all time.
The opening cadenza in G minor is astonishing.
Perfect structure

25Kachaturian Piano Concerto
Great balance of melody and dissonance. A powerful force.

26Mozart Piano Concerto no.25 in C
This concerto by Mozart is in my humble opinion "a symphony with piano". Why? Because the Mozart's Piano Concerto no.25 in C major has a symphonic temperament similar to 41 th symphony called "Jupiter". In fact, the Mozart's Piano Concerto no.25 in C major has a pompous and joy taste like said symphony 41 th. One of the best piano concertos by Mozart along to 20, 21, 22, 24, 26 and 27.

27Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1
Beautiful and powerful; A masterpiece!
A short but thunderous - and extremely difficult - piano concerto by the master Sergej.
Should be in this list, so much underrated

28Bortkiewicz Piano Concerto no. 1

29Bartok - Piano Concerto No.3

30J Joe Townley's Second Piano Concerto
I love the orchestration and the virtuosic piano passages!
I am astounded at this piece. I only wish it could be performed by a major orchestra and pianist. I love Rachmaninoff, but Joe Townley meets him head on with this piece. Most of my life, I have wondered, "Where are the Mozarts, Beethovens, Rachmaninoff's? They can't all be writing Rock music and Broadway shows. I know they are out there, but in the clash of music cultures, romantic and classical has been lost. This concerto is among the best. I hope it finds its way in to the repertoire. It is just too good. It deserves to stand by the Rach 2.

31Wojciech Kilar - Piano Concerto No. 1

32Dohnanyi Piano Concerto No. 1

33Mendelssohn - Piano Concerto No. 2

34Poulenc's Piano Concerto

35Bortkiewicz Piano Concerto No. 2

36Alexei Haieff's Piano Concerto
This piano concerto No. 1 sounds like a very exciting mix of Shostakovich pianoconcerti with a Stravinskian neoclassical style. There is only one recording available, on Naxos with Leo Smit as the soloist.

37Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25

38Mozart's 22nd Piano Concerto
One of Mozarts most melodic & eloquant piano concertos.


My favorite of all of Mozart's Piano Concertos. Intricate writing particularly for the wind instruments.
This piano concerto sounds very elegant but very tricky to play.

39Prokofiev Concerto. No. 2
Probably the most difficult of all piano concertos, but that's not what's important.. But the great emotion Prokofiev gives us, seems like a different side of Prokofiev (quite different from the first or third concerto at least). To me it feels like anxiety and longing.
Absolutely one of the greatest underrated concertos in the repertoire. Incredible wonderful.
You need to like Metal til fully enjoy the first movement. that's probably because its higher on the list.

Comments About This List

Featured Lists
Popular Lists
New Lists

Top Remixes of This List





Posts About This List

List Info

This list was created 6 years, 213 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 4 times.

Updated Tuesday, March 24, 2015

List Error Reporting

See an item on this list that's misspelled, duplicated, or doesn't belong? Let us know. Click here to report the error.