Virtuoso Romantic-era musician who became one of the 19th century's most authoritative conductors and one of its most influential composers.
He was one of Franz Liszt's earliest students and later married Liszt's daughter, Cosima.
He helped Richard Strauss obtain his first regular job as a conductor.
He and Cosima divorced in 1870, after she left him for composer Richard Wagner, one of his chief inspirations.
He became the first to perform the complete cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas; he performed the cycle from memory.