Beniamino Cesi was a celebrated Italian concert pianist and teaching professor of piano, who taught many of the most distinguished early 20th century pianists of the Neapolitan school, so that his influence spread very widely. Born in Naples, Cesi began his studies with his father, and later with Luigi Albanesi. He was heard by Sigismund Thalberg, who was so impressed with him that he made him one of his favourite pupils. He began his career as a concert performer in 1862, and quickly gained a very high reputation in Italy. At the age of 20 he won a competition to gain the position of piano professor at the Royal Conservatorio of San Pietro a Majella in Naples. He was soon considered a front rank performer in cities throughout Europe, including London, where he appeared in 1886. Although he was considered a great interpreter of J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin, he was also a champion of old Italian music.