1853 in music
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- March 5 – Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg sets up in business as a piano manufacturer in New York City, and the firm of Steinway and Sons is born.
- October – Louis Niedermeyer reorganizes and re-opens the school known as the École Choron, which becomes the École Niedermeyer.
- October 1 – The piano manufacturer C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik is founded by Carl Bechstein in Berlin.
- Julius Blüthner founds Blüthner (piano manufacturer) in Leipzig, Germany.
- October 22 - The overture to Tannhäuser is performed in Boston Music Hall by the Germania Musical Society conducted by Carl Bergmann. It is the first American performance.
- November 1 - Richard Wagner begins composing the music for the The Ring of the Nibelung.
- Louis Moreau Gottschalk returns the United States after eleven years in Europe.
- Brahms meets Joseph Joachim and Robert and Clara Schumann.
Published popular music
- "Farewell My Lilly Dear" by Stephen Foster
- "My Cottage Home" w.m. Alice Hawthorne
- "My Old Kentucky Home" by Stephen Foster
- "P'tit quinquin" (in Picard) by Alexandre Desrousseaux
- Louis Moreau Gottschalk – The Banjo, Op. 15
- Franz Liszt
- Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Albert Dietrich – F-A-E Sonata
- Franz Berwald, Piano Trio No. 4 in C major
- Franz Berwald, Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor
- Camille Saint-Saëns, Piano Quartet in E major
- Camille Saint-Saëns, Symphony No. 1 in E♭ major
- Henryk Wieniawski, Violin Concerto No. 1
- Charles Gounod, Méditation sur le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach, later known as Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)
- Johannes Brahms - Piano Sonata No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 3
- William Henry Fry - Santa Claus, Christmas Symphony
- Victor Massé – Les noces de Jeannette
- Karel Miry – Anne Mie (opera in 1 act, premiered on October 9 in Antwerp)
- Giuseppe Verdi
- May 17 – Carolina Östberg, opera singer (d. 1929)
- July 24 – Alessandro Parisotti, composer and music editor (d. 1913)
- November 23 – Giuseppina Bozzachi, ballerina (d. 1870)
- December 22 – Teresa Carreño, pianist, singer, conductor and composer (d. 1917)
- December 30 – André Messager, composer (d. 1929)
- date unknown
- January 16 – Matteo Carcassi, guitarist and composer (b. 1792)
- March 15 – Giovanni Ricordi, violinist (b. 1785)
- October 3 – George Onslow, composer (b. 1784)
- October 29 – Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann, pianist, composer and music teacher (b. 1785)
- October 30 – Pietro Raimondi, composer (b. 1786)
- December 5
- date unknown – James Hill, folk musician (b. c. 1811)