Charles-Valentin Alkan (November 1813 – 29 March 1888, Paris) was a French composer, pianist, and one of the greatest virtuosos of his day.
A child prodigy, he entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, where he studied both piano and organ, earning many awards. In his twenties, he taught and played concerts in elegant social circles, and was a friend of Liszt and Rubenstein. Alkan often performed with Chopin and was famed as a virtuoso. Liszt once stated that Alkan had the finest piano technique of anyone he knew.
There are periods of his life about which little is known, other than that he was immersed in the study of the Bible and the Talmud. It seems that Alkan completed a full translation into French of both the Old and New testaments. He gradually withdrew from the concert platform after 1848 and lived the life of a recluse until his death.