Marie Anna Lager was born in 1788 to Mathias and Franziska in Austria. When she was about eight years old, her father and her mother died within about six months of each other. She lived with other family for a time before she worked as a chambermaid in Vienna. She eventually moved to Mattersdorf and here she met Adam Liszt. His father was the overseer of the Esterházy estate.
In 1811, they married and started their life together with a child (Franz) coming in their first year of marriage. While her husband and son toured in the early 1820s and started a career for young Franz, she spent time with her sister. Adam died suddenly in 1827 leaving Anna and Franz on their own. At this point Anna moved to Paris to live with Franz. He gave music lessons to support them. She spent most of the rest of her life in Paris, coming to love the city and learn the language.
When relations between Franz and the Countess d’Agoult became strained and ended, their three children eventually all went to live with Anna in Paris. She helped raise them while Franz toured and sent money to care for them all.
She lived until the age of 78.