25 of the Most Celebrated Composers In History

Posted by on February 18, 2013

If it weren’t for music we would undoubtedly have a very dull existence. The way it affects emotion, moods, and conveys ideas make it one of the most powerful and intimate artistic mediums in the world. We identify with the music we like and through it feel a connection with the people who wrote it. Although we all have our personal tastes there are some pieces and genres that are almost objectively above the rest. These are the men behind those pieces. These are 25 of the most celebrated composers in history.


25

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven started going deaf at the turn of the century and it became sadly apparent that he could not always hear what he played. After 1819, all conversations with him had to be written down.

24

Antonio Vivaldi

Like Mozart, Vivaldi died in poverty, in an unmarked grave. Both composers were similar in how they achieved greatness in their composition and popularity, yet failed to secure financial greatness.

23

Aaron Copland

Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, he was widely known as “the dean of American composers”.

22

Franz Joseph Haydn

Anyone who can write 108 symphonies makes this list.

21

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Interesting fact: he hated writing The Nutcracker, undoubtedly his most famous work.

20

Carl Nielson

Undoubtedly Denmark’s most famous composer he went against his roots and added foreign, romantic flavors to his music.

19

Gustav Mahler

Sometimes called “the symphonist of death”, he only wrote 9 complete symphonies, all of which are centered around death and the afterlife.

18

Johannes Brahms

One of the finest musical craftsmen of all time, he wrote 4 symphonies which are among the most recorded repertoire ever.



17

Franz Liszt

Liszt was the greatest pianist of all time. He sightread Grieg’s Piano Concerto, playing it perfectly the first time.

16

Modest Mussorgsky

Well known for his smash hit, Night on Bald Mountain, which is the #3 most recorded orchestral piece in history.

15

Frederic Chopin

As a pianist, Chopin was ranked among the greatest artists of his epoch, such as Kalkbrenner, Liszt, Thalberg and Herz, but, in contrast to them, he disliked public performances and appeared rarely and rather unwillingly.

14

Leonard Bernstein

His incredibly popular West Side Story combines Jazz, Classical, Puerto Rican and Romantic elements. How could he not make the list?

13

Franz Schubert

Sometimes called the greatest songwriter of all time.

12

Dmitri Shostakovich

Shostakovich himself got into trouble with the goverment for his opera ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’ (he was made an “Enemy of the People”). They said it was ‘coarse, primitive and vulgar’ and it was banned for almost 30 years!

11

Richard Wagner

In spite of his supposedly less than amiable personality he managed to write the single most famous masterpiece in opera history: The Ring Cycle.