21 Famous Music Composers and their Popular Compositions

8. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

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He is Italy’s best known opera composer with a staggering output. He wrote 28 operas of which many contain arias that have become a part of regular culture. His most mature productions include Ernani, Nabucco, Luisa Miller, II Trovatore, Rigoletto, La Traviata, and many more. Verdi was also a devout catholic who composed perhaps the most deeply religious pieces ever like Dies Irae (Day of Anger). Critics say it’s one of the most terrifying and majestically glorious pieces ever.

9. Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

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Haydn was one of the most prolific music composers in the world. The Austrian composer is recognized as a key figure behind the development of the Classical music style in the 18th century. He helped to establish the styles and forms of the symphony, and the string quartet in particular. Haydn is credited with the development of chamber music like the piano trio. He spent much of his career with the wealthy Esterhazy family, as their court musician. In his own words, he was “forced to become original” in the latter part of his life and dissociated himself from all other composers and others forms of music.

10. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

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Widely considered among the best Italian opera writers after Verdi, Puccini is perhaps the last of the great musical composers. His most famous works include Tosca, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot. All these are considered masterpieces and widely performed both in standard repertoire and operas. These operas also comprise several standalone arias like O soave fanciulla, Mi chiamano Mimi, Che gelida manina, Un bel di vedremo, E lucevan le stelle, Nessun Dorma, and O mio babbino caro.

11. Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

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He was one of the most talented musicians who died before he turned 32. Nevertheless, he was a prolific composer during his lifetime. Schubert’s output comprises more than 600 secular vocal works, mostly Leider. The Austrian composer also wrote seven complete symphonies, operas, sacred music, incidental music, besides a large body of piano and chamber music. Schubert received limited appreciation for his compositions when he was alive. But interest in his work significantly increased in the decades that followed his death.

12. Ustad Allauddin Khan (1862-1972)

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A multi-instrumentalist who excelled with the sarod, sitar, and shehnai, Allauddin Khan is one of the greatest musicians and music teachers of the 21st century. He’s the founder of the Maihar gharana (school) one of the most prominent Hindustani classical music styles. He composed various ragas while playing for the All India Radio during 1959-60. Unfortunately, most of them are lost today due to lack of preservation. A teacher extraordinaire, many of his disciples became world-renowned musicians, like Ravi Shankar, Bahadur Khan, Pannalal Ghosh, and of course his son Ali Akbar Khan and daughter Annapurna Devi.

13. Saint Hildegard Von Bingen (1098 – 1179)

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She was a polymath and was rightly considered as the mother of opera. Her music had influenced the period of renaissance. Apart from being the opera genius, she was also an herbalist, author, artist, linguist, scientist, counselor, visionary, poet etc. She is one of the most important women to have influenced classical music.

Also Read: 15 Magnificent Renaissance Paintings

14. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 – 1788)

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He was a musical genius who made sure that his music was heard and appreciated all over the world even after centuries of his death. His keyboard sonatas set him apart from the rest. His musical reputation was absolutely outstanding back in the 18th century.