Whether their lives were long or short, the classic composers tended to cement their legacies in their final days, perhaps the point in their lives when they were at their most philosophical.

Pianist Etsko Tazaki is fascinated by the legacies these artists leave, and is turning them into a trio of recitals that focuses on the last piano works of Johannes Brahms (1833-97), Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and Franz Schubert (1797-1828).

The music of these great German classical and romantic composers "has formed my musical backbone," says Tazaki, who is in the process of crafting quite a legacy of her own as a pioneering Japanese pianist who was one of the first to leave her home to study in the United States.