Muzio Clementi was a celebrated composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. Born in Italy, he spent most of his life in England. He is best known for his piano sonatas, and his collection of piano studies, Gradus ad Parnassum. Nineteenth century enthusiasts lauded Clementi as "the father of the pianoforte", "father of modern piano technique", and "father of Romantic pianistic virtuosity". Encouraged to study music by his father, he was sponsored as a young composer by Sir Peter Beckford, a wealthy Englishman who took him to England to advance his studies. He soon became known as one of the great piano virtuosi, touring Europe numerous times from his long time base in London. It was on one of these occasions in 1781 that he famously engaged in a piano competition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.