Famous Composers

Music is something people from all walks of life enjoy. It is a form of art which not only understands, but soothes the soul. Society throughout the years has been gifted composers that weaved “organized sound” into melody. From Bach to Copland, we have become beneficiaries of their talents in creating music.

Ludwig-Beethoven-2 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Famous For: his symphonies and concertos
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven was instrumental in bridging two musical styles, Romantic and Classical. He is one of the world’s most famous composers. His compositions include 32 piano sonatas, 15 string quartets, 5 concertos, and nine symphonies.
Johann-Bach-2 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Famous For: his work as violinist during the Baroque period
Baroque composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach helped German styles of music with the use of harmonic, counterpoint, and motivic rhythms. His compositions, Brandenburg Concertos and the Mass in B minor are some of his most memorable works along with the cantatas, Passions, and other organ works.
Richard_Wagner Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Famous For: composing operatic music
Wagner not only composed his own music, he even wrote the lyrics, or libretto, when producing an opera. He used the concept of “total work of art” or Gesamtkunstwerk in making his musical compositions.
Wolfgang-Mozart-2 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Famous For: being the most productive composer during the Classical period
Mozart composed his first piece when he was five years old. He composed concertos, operas, and symphonies that are part of more than six hundred pieces of work. Mozart is the most recognized composer that has influenced western music.
Antonio-Vivaldi Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Famous For: violin concertos
Vivaldi is near the top when it comes to Baroque composers, specially when it comes to the violin. His specialty has been “violin concertos” along with composing operas, chorales, and other instrumental concertos. His most famous violin concerto is The Four Seasons.
Giuseppe_Verdi Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Famous For: opera compositions
Italian composer Verdi is best recognized for his operatic compositions. His famous works include Rigoletto in which the now popular “La donna e mobile” is sung. The opera’s of Verdi are performed worldwide.
Franz_Liszt_1858 Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Famous For: greatest pianist of all time
Hungarian paino virtuoso Franz Liszt is considered the “greatest pianist of all time.” He was also a composer and conductor. His masterpiece piano composition is entitled Annees de Pelerinage, “Years of the Pilgrimmage.”
Frederic-Chopin-2 Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Famous For: two piano concertos
Chopin was a piano virtuoso beginning at an early age. Some consider him one of the greatest of “Romantic” piano composers. Most of compostions are for the piano, solo, two piano concertos, chamber music and even songs written in Polish.
Robert-Schumann-1850 Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Famous For: world famous compositions
Hoping to be piano virtuoso, Schumann found himself composing masterpieces instead after a hand injury. His most famous compositions include Albumblatter, Album fur die Jegend, Blumenstuck, Kinderszenen, and Sonatas.
Franz_Schubert_by_Wilhelm_August_Rieder Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Famous For: the Unfinished Symphony
Austrian composer Franz Schubert lived a very short, but productive life, he wrote nine symphonies, opera, liturgical pieces, and up to six hundred “Lieder” or songs in German. His most famous piece is entitled, Unfinished Symphony. He died at the age of 31
Claude_Debussy_by_Marcel_Baschet_1884 Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Famous For: Claire de Lune
Debussy is viewed as one of the most important composers in that his work helped the transition between impressionist music to western. His compositions contain what is known as elements of symbolism. The most famous composition by Debussy is Claire de Lune.
Johannes_Brahms_portrait_ Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Famous For: one of the Three B’s
Vienneese composer and pianist Johannes Brahms made music for symphony orchestra’s ensembles, chorus, and the piano. His roots in musical composition are based on Baroque and Classical influences.
Igor-Stravinsky-1910 Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Famous For: ballet composition of Petrushka
20th century composer Igor Stravinsky is famous for his three ballets The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. His compositions have a neoclassical style of music in them.
George_Gershwin George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Famous For: Porgy and Bess & An American in Paris
American composer George Gershwin and his music covers the classical and popular genre. Porgy and Bess, an American opera, along with An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue are his known works. Gershwin composed muscial scores for Hollywood that include music for the movie Shall We Dance, where he received an Oscar Award for best original song, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”
Gustav_Mahler_by_Moritz_Nähr Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Famous For: Eighth Symphony
Mahler and his compositions were popular in 19th & 20th century Austria. His compositions reflect that of the late Romantic and modernism styles.
Richard_Strauss Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Famous For: opera Salome & Also sprach Zarathustra
The fame of Richard Strauss comes from his composition of operas that include Salome and Der Rosenkavalier. Among his orchestral compositions, Also sprach Zarathustra is the most well known as the theme for the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. His style of composition bordered between Romantic and modern.
Maurice-Ravel Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Famous For: Bolero
French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel is remembered for his orchestral and instrumental compositions. His best known work is Bolero.
Felix-Mendelssohn Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Famous For: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Felix Mendelssohn wrote compositions that wer part of the Romantic era. He wrote chamber music, concerti’s, oratorios, and symphonies. One of his better known works is his arrangement for A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘s incidental music and Overture.
Antonín-Dvořák Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Famous For: New World Symphony
Composer Antonin Dvorak and his works exhibit traditional Slavic music and neoromanticism style. He wrote nine symphonies, chamber music, and operas.
Aaron-Copland Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Famous For: being the “dean of American composers”
Recognized as the “dean of American composers,” Aaron Copland’s composition included harmonies that is distinctly American. The American ballet compositions he completed include Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid. Copland produced music for opera, orchestra, and even for movie scores.
Irving-Berlin Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Famous For: Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Irving Berlin, over a span of 60 years, composed and wrote music for 1500 songs, eighteen Hollywood movies, and nineteen Broadway shows. His style is simple and direct, the American style. He is best remembered for his composition Alexander’s Ragtime Band.
Giacomo-Puccini Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
Famous For: La Boheme & Turandot
Romantic opera composer Giacomo Puccini has been called one of the greatest composers of Italian opera. His style in composing his operas is one he developed on his own, “verismo”, or realistic style.
Arnold-Schoenberg Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Famous For: twelve-tone technique
Schoenberg’s style of composing his music follows the traditional Romantic styles of Wagner and Brahms. He developed a method in composing known as the “twelve tone technique.”