Top Classical Composers
|Johann Sebastian Bach (4237)|
Johann Sebastian Bach belonged to a dynasty of musicians. In following inevitable family tradition, he excelled his forebears and contemporaries, although he did not always receive the respect he deserved in his own life-time.
|Ludwig Van Beethoven (3462)|
Born in Bonn in 1770, the eldest son of a singer in the Kapelle of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and grandson of the Archbishop's Kapellmeister, Beethoven moved in 1792 to Vienna, where he had some lessons from Haydn and others, quickly...
|Hector Berlioz (507)|
In his own time Hector Berlioz was something of an outsider, as far as the French musical establishment was concerned.
|Georges Bizet (927)|
Bizet won early success as a composer and initially as a pianist.
|Johannes Brahms (2407)|
Born in Hamburg, the son of a double-bass player and his older seamstress wife, Brahms attracted the attention of Schumann, to whom he was introduced by the violinist Joachim, and after Schumann's death he maintained a long friendship with his...
|Benjamin Britten (616)|
Benjamin Britten must be accepted as the most outstanding English composer working in the mid-20th century, winning a significant international reputation, while remaining thoroughly English in inspiration, a feat his immediate predecessors had been...
|Frederic Chopin (1747)|
|Claude Debussy (1586)|
Claude Debussy exercised widespread influence over later generations of composers, both in his native France and elsewhere.
|Gaetano Donizetti (737)|
A native of Bergamo, Donizetti was, for nearly a decade after the early death of Bellini in 1835, the leading composer of Italian opera. He had his first success with Zoraida di Granata in 1822.
|Antonin Dvorak (1187)|
The later 19th century brought an increasing consciousness of national identity to various ethnic groups in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
|Sir Edward Elgar (735)|
|Gabriel Faure (892)|
In the rigid official musical establishment of Paris in the second half of the 19th century Gabriel Fauré won acceptance with difficulty.
|Cesar Franck (543)|
Born at Liège in 1822, César Franck was originally intended by his father for a career as a virtuoso pianist.
|George Gershwin (506)|
Composer (1898-1937) George Gershwin is one of the Twentieth Century’s most revered composers. Despite his premature death at 38 his output is outstanding.
|Charles Gounod (767)|
|Edvard Grieg (823)|
Edvard Grieg is the most important Norwegian composer of the later 19th century, a period of growing national consciousness.
|George Frideric Handel (1979)|
Born in the German town of Halle in 1685, Handel studied briefly at the University of Halle, before moving to Hamburg in 1703, where he served as a violinist in the opera orchestra and subsequently as harpsichordist and composer.
|Franz Joseph Haydn (1411)|
Various paternity charges have been levelled at the composer Haydn.
|Franz Liszt (1461)|
Liszt was the son of a steward in the service of the Esterházy family, patrons of Haydn. He was born in 1811 at Raiding in Hungary and moved as a child to Vienna, where he took piano lessons from Czerny and composition lessons from Salieri.
|Gustav Mahler [Composer] (839)|
|Jules Massenet (742)|
The leading operatic composer of his generation in France, Jules Massenet studied at the Paris Conservatoire, winning the Prix de Rome in 1863.
|Felix Mendelssohn (1655)|
Felix Mendelssohn, grandson of the distinguished Jewish thinker Moses Mendelssohn, the additional surname Bartholdy adopted on his conversion to Christianity, was born in Hamburg, the son of a banker.
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (4033)|
The youngest child and only surviving son of Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus was born in Salzburg in 1756, the year of publication of his father's influential treatise on violin-playing.
|Sergei Prokofiev (941)|
|Giacomo Puccini (1198)|
Descended from a family of musicians, Puccini was the most important Italian opera composer in the generation after Verdi. He was born and educated in Lucca, later studying under Ponchielli at the Milan Conservatory.
|Henry Purcell (571)|
Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the Restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period.
|Sergei Rachmaninov (1291)|
After study at the St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories, Sergey Rachmaninov embarked on a career in Russia as a composer, pianist and conductor.
|Maurice Ravel (1280)|
French, of paternal Swiss and maternal Basque descent, Ravel combined skill in orchestration with meticulous technical command of harmonic resources.
|Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (512)|
|Gioachino Rossini (1030)|
Rossini occupied an unrivalled position in the Italian musical world of his time, winning considerable success relatively early in his career.
|Camille Saint-Saens (1032)|
Once described as the French Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns was a talented and precocious child, with interests by no means confined to music. He made an early impression as a pianist.
|Franz Schubert (2323)|
The son of a schoolmaster who had settled in Vienna, Franz Schubert was educated as a chorister of the imperial court chapel and later qualified as a schoolteacher, briefly and thereafter intermittently joining his father in the classroom.
|Robert Schumann (1814)|
The son of a bookseller, publisher and writer, Robert Schumann showed early abilities in both music and literature, the second facility used in his later writing on musical subjects.
|Dmitry Shostakovich (975)|
Dmitry Shostakovich belongs to the generation of composers trained principally after the Communist Revolution of 1917. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory as a pianist and composer, his First Symphony winning immediate favour.
|Jean Sibelius (532)|
Sibelius grew to maturity at a time of fervent Finnish nationalism, as the country broke away from its earlier Swedish and later Russian overlords.
|Johann Strauss, Jr. (543)|
|Richard Strauss (1042)|
Richard Strauss enjoyed early success as both conductor and composer, in the second capacity influenced by the work of Wagner.
|Igor Stravinsky (680)|
The son of a distinguished Russian singer, Stravinsky spent his earlier years in Russia, either in St. Petersburg or, in the summer, at the country estates of his relatives.
|Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1988)|
|Georg Philipp Telemann (530)|
Among the most prolific and most famous composers of his generation, Telemann was born in 1681 at Magdeburg and educated at the University of Leipzig, where he founded the University Collegium Musicum and was the city council's preferred candidate...
|Giuseppe Verdi (1690)|
Verdi dominated the world of Italian opera from his first considerable success in 1842 with Nabucco until his final Shakespearean operas Otello, staged at La Scala, Milan, in 1887, and Falstaff, mounted at the same opera-house...
|Antonio Vivaldi (1357)|
The Italian composer and violinist Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678 and after his ordination in 1703 embarked on an intermittent career in the service of the Ospedale della Pietà, an institution for the education of orphan,...
|Richard Wagner (1160)|
Wagner was a remarkable innovator both in harmony and in the structure of his work, creating his own version of the Gesamtkunstwerk, dramatic compositions in which the arts were brought together into a single unity.
|Ralph Vaughan Williams (583)|
One of the leading English composers of his generation, Vaughan Williams was a pupil of Parry, Charles Wood and Stanford, and later of Bruch and Ravel.