Famous classical music composers you need to know

Classical music generally means a form of music composition which follows certain established forms and principles. Classical music composers compose them in accordance with those tenets. Diversions from those are generally the modern methods of composing new forms of music from them, giving a different flavour. The two main variants of classical music in the world are eastern and western. Although formal definitions most often choose to define classical music as a western musical tradition, it has an immensely rich history in the east as well.

The world has seen a lot of classical music composers coming from almost every corner. They bring their own national and cultural heritage. The most famous classical composers amongst them are now remembered around the world through their compositions. Classical music composers are often trained rigorously, with extreme dedication. They treat music with the same importance as a mathematician treats mathematics. If you want to be a classical music composer, you have to be very sincere with every small detail of the composition. The fact classical music composers do not digress from the rules for classical music separates them from composers of modern forms of music, like jazz or, for that matter, folk.

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To be one of the famous classical composers will need you to do the same practice but with higher diligence. To be great or renowned in any field is difficult, and therefore being among famous classical composers is also difficult if you are training like classical music composers.

Famous composers of the 20th century

The 20th century saw a lot of changes in the world and a lot of great ones amongst them. Classical music is one of them. It saw the rise of a lot of classical music compers around the globe. Many famous classical composers who we remember today are from that century.

The list is very big, but among so many classical music composers, it is important to name some of the most famous classical composers. Let us begin with Jean Sibelius, one of the classical music composers of the post-Romantic period. He was of Finnish origin. Some of his most famous works are Violin Concerto in D Minor (1905), Finlandia (1900), and Symphony No. 2 in D Major (1902). All these are from the 20th century.

Another famous classical composer from the 20th century is Igor Stravinsky. He was one of the classical music composers from the Soviet era (now the Russian Federation). The Soviet era has given the world a lot of famous classical composers. Apart from being one of the classical music composers, Igor Stravinsky was also a pianist and a conductor. Although he has many great compositions to his name, the most famous ones are The Rite of Spring (a ballet) (1913), The Firebird (another ballet) (1910), and The Rake’s Progress (an opera) (1957).

Europe has a history of producing some of the most famous classical composers. Another classical music composer on our list is from Hungary, Béla Bartók. Béla Bartók lived and composed mainly in the 20th century. He was a pianist too apart from being a classical music composer. A genius, he produced many great masterpieces played even today. Some of his most famous compositions are Romanian Folk Dances (1915), Concerto for Orchestra (1945), and The Miraculous Mandarin (a ballet) (1918).

Best composers of the 21st century

While it is of great importance to appreciate our history, regardless of how old or recent it is, we should keep a watch on the present greats too. We should enjoy them so that we do not miss their creations while they are fresh and new. This advice applies to followers of classical music composers too. There is no doubt that the preceding centuries gave us a lot of famous classical composers who we still listen to and students learn from, but the same applies to the current century too. In just a span of twenty-two years out of one hundred, we have many great classical music composers.

To start with, we have the Danish classical music composer Hans Abrahamsen. Although he has worked extensively in the 20th century, he has added a lot to the world of music in the 21st century too. Let Me Tell You (2013), a product of the 21st century, is arguably the best composition of this composer. Thus, it is important to include him in the list of famous classical composers of the 21st century.

Our admiration for classical music composers will next take us to England. George Benjamin, a famous classical composer of English origin has worked extensively (and is still working) in this and the previous century. Therefore, there is no doubt that George Benjamin is one of the most famous classical composers, a maestro, of the 21st century too. Apart from being one of the great classical music composers, he is a pianist, a conductor, and a teacher as well. Thus, George Benjamin truly deserves his place among the likes of the famous classical composers across the world. Some of the works that have earned him a lot of recognition are Written on Skin (2009) and Dance Figures (2004).

Famous Russian classical music composers

Russia has given the world a lot of geniuses across all possible fields, ranging from science and technology to arts and music. It has also given us a huge number of classical music composers who people still remember through their works. Students of classical music derive heavy inspiration from those maestros Russia has produced among others.

The name that often occurs the first to any mind well aware of Russian classical music composers is Mikhail Glinka. Mikhail Glinka served classical music his entire life. He started to learn the art from a very young age and moved to St Petersburg to move his career forward, along which he met a lot of other classical music composers of his age. Mikhail Glinka has contributed extensively to Russian culture through his works. Some of his most famous works are Ivan Susanin (1836), and Ruslan and Ludmila (1842). He encountered a lot of criticism by the end of his career for which he was compelled to leave Russia. However, he did return to Russia but only after several years.

Another name is Pyotr Tchaikovsky. This Russian classical composer continues to remain a legend in the art of classical music in Russia even after over one hundred and twenty years of his death. He has composed numerous pieces and has contributed immensely to the Russian ballet, like Swan Lake  (1876) and Sleeping Beauty (1889). Despite a very successful career, he did not have a very pleasant life, including death under mysterious circumstances.

The list of classical music composers from Russia is very big indeed, but it is imperative to recognise some more Russian classical composers. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and so many other famous classical composers of Russian origin also deserve our attention when we discuss Russian classical music.

Famous Austrian classical music composers

Austria is a land of rich heritage, culture, and history. One of the most important centres of art and culture in Europe, Austria has produced some of the most famous classical composers of all time for centuries. They still serve as pieces to learn from and delve into to derive one of the greatest pleasures of all kinds in the world of music.

The name that shines arguable more than any other amongst famous classical composers from Austria is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart started to compose music from an early age of just eight years. As time passed, he grew to become one of the most versatile classical music composers of his generation and probably of all. His genius lay in his comprehension of music and his mastery in moulding that according to human emotions. This is the reason why his melodies are still played and felt. One of his most recommended works is Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor.

Another name is Franz Schubert. Franz Schubert during his lifetime wrote hundreds of compositions. He had a short career. The composition he wrote while he was fully aware of his terminal illness is considered the best work to start listening to Schubert. It is called Symphony No. 8 ‘Unfinished’, or the Unfinished Symphony.

Last but not least can be Joseph Haydn,  considered one of the greatest pioneers and innovators of classical compositions. He was born in rural Austria which was reflected in his music. But the magic he weaved was the mingling of the sophisticated urban and the rustic rural tastes of music, which blended as if they were made for each other. He was also the teacher of the revolutionary composer Ludwig van Beethoven, considered by many as one of the greatest of all times.

Famous Spanish classical music composers

Spain is admirable. Be it dance, art, theatre, music, architecture, or for that matter, football, Spain always has something to offer. With this spirit, let us recognise some of the most famous classical composers from Spain.

Isaac Albeniz is said to have had the most profound impact on the Spanish music culture. He was as good a pianist too. Isaac Albeniz worked in the post-Romantic era as one of its geniuses and heavily influenced the country’s national composition style and the nationalist school of musicians. He studied under Felipe Pedrell, the father of Spain’s nationalist music movement. His piano pieces brought him plenty of fame. To date, Iberia, a suite of twelve virtuoso piano pieces, is his most celebrated work.

Next on the list is Manuel de Falla, considered by many as one of the greatest classical music composers from Spain in the twentieth century. He was also a pianist, taught to play the piano by his mother. Later, he too studied music with Felipe Pedrell in Madrid. His music is known for its fusion of asceticism, poetry, and the nationalist spirit of Spain. de Falla produced his first compositions in Paris where he met many French classical music composers like Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, and Maurice Ravel.

Joaquin Rodrigo is another immortal name in the musical history of Spain. He was blind after contracting diphtheria at the age of three. But his supposed ailment is what he attributes his inspiration for music. He was schooled at a school for blind people, and he refined his style of music in Paris and Germany during the Spanish Civil War. He later married a Turkish pianist, Victoria Kamhi. Victoria Kamhi managed his career then. One of the most celebrated compositions of Joaquin Rodrigo is Adagio.

Famous Italian classical music composers

Famous classical music composers

Italy is not famous only for its food and Rome, but for its music too. The country is home to one of the oldest civilisations of the world, the Roman civilisation and since then the art of music is alive there in some form or the other. Italy is the birthplace of some of the greatest classical music composers the world has seen, and the list of the famous classical composers amongst them is long too. Opera, a form of western theatre, was also born in Italy.

The list should start with Claudio Monteverdi, the great 16th-century artist. He worked in the 17th century too. Claudio Monteverdi wrote one of the first finest operas, L’Orfeo. He was revolutionary in the development of music in Europe. Monteverdi, in the history of classical music, started the transformation from the early Renaissance style to the Baroque period. By the age of 32, he established himself as a classical music composer. He then moved to St Mark’s Basilica, Venice to become a maestro of classical music.

Next on our list is Antonio Vivaldi, a violin expert. Antonio Vivaldi wrote over forty operas in his lifetime, but people remember him the most for his work The Four Seasons the most, a succession of violin concertos. His father taught him violin. Vivaldi wrote his first composition at the age of thirteen, an orchestral work. Although Vivaldi first became a priest, his poor health did not allow him to carry out his priestly duties. This gave him the chance to focus on his music. Antonio Vivaldi wrote exuberant and melodious compositions. They left a deep impact on the later composers.

To name some more, we have Niccolò Paganini, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini too. They served as the torchbearers of classical music in Italy.

Famous German classical music composers

Famous classical music composers

Breathtaking technological innovations are not just what Germany offers. It gives us a wealth of classical music too. Ludwig van Beethoven is the most prominent example of it. Beethoven surpasses all praises, considered a master of masters, his symphonies still playing in some parts of the world. People listen to this champion of classical music with the same enthusiasm as the admirers of his generation. His greatness lives through his compositions which many consider unsurpassable. Ludwig van Beethoven started to encounter difficulties in hearing at an early age, while was still composing. He lost all hearing abilities at the age of 44 or 45. Then he passed written notes to his visitors and colleagues. He died at the early age of 56, but by then he became one of the greatest and most famous classical composers of all time.

The list is however incomplete without the likes of Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach. These two were contemporaries. Georg Philipp Telemann has over 3000 pieces to his name. His high level of creativity continues to puzzle classical music experts. Telemann also innovated composer rights which established compositions as the intellectual property of the composers. Sebastian Bach was a technical genius. He had extreme precision with his notes and wrote in almost every genre of his time. His intellectual depth added timeless flavours to his music and established him as one of the most famous classical composers from Germany.

The list is very long and some other classical music composers from Germany deserve our attention too. Christoph Willibald Gluck, an opera composer, was also a leading figure among classical music composers in Germany. Gluck is credited for blending Italian and French opera forms to give a new style of opera composition.

Famous classical music composers FAQs

Who is the most famous classical music composer?

Famous classical music composers

Among so many famous classical composers, Ludwig van Beethoven is perhaps the most famous. This is a belief of many experts around the world.

Who are the 5 greatest Classical composers?

Although it is difficult to name only five classical music composers out of so many famous classical composers, we do have five such names. First is Ludwig van Beethoven who does not need much introduction. Then is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, an Austrian composer. Then we have Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Frederic Chopin.

Did Mozart and Beethoven ever meet?

Yes! Mozart and Beethoven really met. One of the most cited accounts is when Beethoven travelled to Vienna to meet Mozart. The year was 1787. Mozart was 30 years old and Beethoven was 16 years old.

What are the six periods of classical music?

Famous classical music composers

The six periods of classical music are:

Early Music or Medieval (till 1400), Renaissance (1400 to 1600), Baroque (1600 to 1750), Classical (1750 to 1830), Romantic (1830 to 1900), and the 20th/21st-century music (1900 to present).

Who are the two most important composers of the classical era?

Haydn and Mozart dominated the classical era. Both of them worked in Vienna. Haydn was the teacher of Mozart. Both of them have a lot of great compositions to their names, making it important to consider them the geniuses of their field and era.

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