21 Famous Music Composers and their Popular Compositions

15. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525 – 1594)

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His music has often been regarded as the greatest written music ever, and the man himself was considered to be the master of polyphony. His music convinced the Pope and Bishops in the council of Trent for using polyphonic music in the church.

16. Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)

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This late Romantic poet and musician was an Austrian by origin, who was called the symphonist of death. Compared to the other classical composers, his repertoire may not be very large because he wrote a total of only 10 symphonies, but, his limited work was good enough to make this classical composer influence hundreds of musicians from different generations. His 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th symphonies are considered to be some of his most majestic work which left everyone awestruck.

17. Edgard Varese (1883 – 1965)

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Born in France, Varese spent most of his life in U.S.A. He was the one who coined the term “organized sound” which represented his own music aesthetics. His music mostly emphasized rhythm and timbre. He is known to have influenced a lot of musicians of the 20th century, even though his total body of existing work does not exceed more than three hours. He is regarded as the “The Father of Electronic Music” because he used electronic resources to create his composition. He was also termed “The stratospheric Colossus of sound” by Henry Miller.

18. Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

Classical music composers

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Primarily known for his operas Richard Wagner happens to be one of the most famous composers hailing from Germany. Apart from being a music composer, he was a polemist, conductor and theater director. He is best known for his operas and music dramas. He wrote both the liberetto unlike other musicians of his time. He was known to synthesize music, drama, poetry, to create a grand visual medium. His music is notable for orchestration, rich harmonies, complex textures, and use of leitmotifs which were widely and elaborately used. He even has his opera house built which has many different types of features and designs; it was known as Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

19. Nadia Boulanger (1887 – 1979)

Famous composers

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Nadia Boulanger was a French music teacher, composer and conductor. She can easily be called the most influential music composers of her time. Though she sparingly performed with the piano and the organ, she is known for teaching some of the greatest musicians in the world, Elliot Carter, Philip Glass, Gershwin, Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein are just to name a few. She already belonged to a musical family so her tryst with music started at a very young age, and when she was just 17, as a student she received honors from the Paris Conservatoire. She is known to have influenced upcoming musician from English speaking countries especially the United States of America.

20. John Cage (1912 – 1992)

Famous Composers

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He was a music theorist, philosopher, writer and artist hailing from America. He was the pioneer of non-standard use of musical systems, indeterminacy music and electroacoustic music. He is often lauded by the critics as one of the most influential and powerful American classical music composers of the 20th century. His association with Merce Cunningham (choreographer) led to the development of modern dancing.

Also Read: 15 Unknown Facts About William Shakespeare

21. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

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Stravinsky was a Russian born French, and finally, American pianist and conductor. He is considered as one of the top influential music composers of the 20th century. While he is widely admired for his compositions, he also generated a fair bit of controversy during his time. Some of his most notable works include A Soldier’s Tale, Petrushka, The Firebird, The Rite of Spring, The Symphony in C, Oedipus Rex, Mavra, and The Song of the Nightingale. His compositions were noted for their stylistic diversity.

Music has evolved over the years, but the aforementioned music composers have etched their names in the sands of time, all thanks to their ultimate talent, musical foresight, path breaking techniques and love for all things music.

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