(b Pest, 15 May 1813; d Paris, 14 Jan. 1888). Hungarian-born French pianist and composer. At the age of 14 he began a two-year concert tour of central Europe, the strain of which resulted in his collapse from nervous exhaustion. In 1830 he obtained a post as piano teacher to a wealthy family in Augsburg, where he remained for eight years, studying composition and writing numerous lieder. Schumann admired his works and invited him to be the Augsburg correspondent of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. In 1838 Heller moved to Paris, where he made a living as a critic and a composer of salon music and enjoyed the friendship of Berlioz. Though remembered today for his studies, he was an important transitional figure between German Romanticism and French Impressionism, as is demonstrated in his character pieces of the 1850s (e.g. Im Walde opp. 86, 128, and 136) and by his later, more exploratory works including the Barcarolles op. 141 and the Sonata in B♭ minor op. 143.
From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.