'''Franz Liszt''' (; Hungarian '''Liszt Ferencz''', in modern usage '''Liszt Ferenc''' ();Liszt's Hungarian passport spelt his given name as "Ferencz". An orthographic reform of the Hungarian language in 1922 (which was 36 years after Liszt's death) changed the letter "cz" to simply "c" in all words except surnames; this has led to Liszt's given name being rendered in modern Hungarian usage as "Ferenc". From 1859 to 1867 he was officially '''Franz Ritter von Liszt'''; he was created a Ritter by Emperor Francis Joseph I. in 1859, but never used this title of nobility in public. The title was necessary to marry the Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein without her losing her privileges, but after the marriage fell through, Liszt transferred the title to his uncle Eduard in 1867. Eduard's son was Franz von Liszt. (October 22, 1811July 31, 1886) was a 19th-century HungarianWalker, ''New Grove 2'' composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, teacher and Franciscan tertiary.

Liszt gained renown in Europe during the early nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age, and in the 1840s he was considered to be the greatest pianist of all time. Liszt was also a well-known and influential composer, piano teacher and conductor. He was a benefactor to other composers, including Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg and Alexander Borodin.Searle, ''New Grove'', 11:29.

As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School"). He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work in which he influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated some 20th-century ideas and trends. Some of his most notable contributions were the invention of the symphonic poem, developing the concept of thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form and making radical departures in harmony.Searle, ''New Grove'', 11:28-29. He also played an important role in popularizing a wide array of music by transcribing it for piano.