Wilhelm Backhaus was born in Leipzig, Germany on March 26, 1884. Backhaus' first teacher was Alois Reckendorf, at the Leipzig Conservatory. It was there that Backhaus made his debut at the age of eight. After 1895, Backhaus studied for one year with d'Albert. Beginning in 1900, Backhaus performed widely and earned praise for his near-infallible technique, tonal solidity, and thorough command of a wide repertoire. As his career progressed, Backhaus focused more and more on the Austro-German literature, especially Brahms and Beethoven. He eventually made his home in Switzerland. In 1954, Backhaus returned to the U.S. concert scene after an absence of 28 years, to great acclaim. He died on July 5, 1969.