The piano as we know it was invented around 1700 by an Italian named Bartolomeo Cristofori. It would be decades before it really caught on with audiences. Of the great composers, the first to cut his teeth on the modern instrument was the child prodigy Beethoven. Unlike the harpsichord, the piano can be lyrical, dramatic, loud and soft; it demanded a new, more expressive kind of music. As a powerful young pianist who was out to impress, Beethoven also demanded a new kind of music, inspiring him to create the Second and Third Piano Concertos.