musical (vocal or instrumental) performance usually executed by a single musician or by an accompanied soloist

A recital is a concert of classical music given by just one musician or one musician and an accompanist. A pianist playing a concert by himself will be giving a "piano recital". A "violin recital" will be given by a violinist, and might include a piano accompanist.

People started talking about "recitals" in the middle of the 19th century. Pianists such as Liszt became famous when they travelled about giving piano recitals. Soon piano manufacturers (firms that make pianos) and concert agents started to sponsor famous pianists to give recitals. These great pianists became great stars in the way that, in music, only opera singers had been great stars before. Some concert halls have become well-known places for recitals, e.g. the Bosendorfersaal in Vienna, the Beethovensaal in Berlin, the Wigmore Hall in London and the Carnegie Hall in New York.

Some pianists became known for playing recitals of music by just one composer. Recitals of Chopin's music were particularly popular. "Song recitals" (or "vocal recitals") are given by singers who sing Lieder and sometimes arias from operas.