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Solo piano performances evolved into a unique form of public concert (the piano recital) during the early part of the nineteenth century. Social, intellectual and economic factors were involved in creating the conditions necessary for this evolution, and it was in London that the most significant early developments occurred. It is the premise of this study that the economic and social influence of the newly wealthy, English, upper middle class was instrumental in creating a cultural tradition of solo piano performances. The formation of a canon of pianistic works suitable for frequent performance was a direct result of this new middle class influence. This study seeks to create a conceptual understanding of the role of solo piano performances in the performance culture of London from 1837–1850. This was achieved by examining concert programs, advertisements and journal reviews of the period, as well as investigating modern scholarship on canon formation and the creation of the music profession. The study is divided into three main sections: an overview of concert life in London during the first half of the nineteenth century, economic and social aspects of solo performance, and social identity and the pianistic canon. Listings of ticket prices and solo repertoire performed during this period are provided in an appendix. Also included are copies of programs and advertisements for public performances.