Greatest Classical Composers

Top ten of the most talented and most respected composers of history. Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

Ludwig Van Beethoven
I also think Beethoven is the greatest composer in human history.
He was not as productive as Mozart and arguably not a great opera
Composer. However, he revolutionized music with the way he used dynamics
And developed motifs and themes. He also increased the length and scope
Of the symphony and the sonata. And he was a pioneer in the use of music to portray human feelings and emotions.
His motifs and themes and their development are rightfully famous for
Their originality and beauty.
Think of the violin concerto. That has got to be the most beautiful
Violin concerto ever. Think of the 4th piano concerto. I find even
More incredible than his more famous 5th. The originality and beauty
Of all its movements is simply astonishing. And then, his symphonies. They
Are all interesting and part of the modern repertoire. But just the
5th and the 9th would make anyone a celebrity. And then, the sonatas. Think of the 32 incredible piano sonatas. Nobody after Beethoven, including all the great romantics, came close to realizing such a musical
Monument. And I could go on...
The 9th symphony, this sums up his battle with tinnitus, the attempted suicide of his nephew Carl Van Beethoven, his Immortal Beloved, His relationship with his father early on, his triumphs and his falters and his own battle with suicidal thoughts. As a 17 year old student in the UK, I don't think I have the life experience to fully comprehend all that Beethoven went through in terms of negativity but what I can say is that when you listen to his incredible ninth symphony, particularly MVTII scherzo and MVTIV presto, you can here the pits of his despair and the heights of his successes, his love for music and his faith in religion pours out seamlessly through meticulous note placements and even more so in his use of the chorale techniques. In response to the NASA scientist in saying he would send BACH to space for Aliens to here, I can say I cannot disagree more. Yes Bach was a pioneer of music and amongst a legendary league of musicians, he didn't quite have as much of an impact on music as Beethoven had and for that reason I would send his 9th symphony to space. It is the sound of our humanity. As I said before I am only 17 and so I don't think I have the universal rights to judge people that, as a musician myself, I will never come close to but when you see my peers and the rest of my generation being mindlessly absorbed by Nikki minaj and Justin Bieber and all chart songs that insinuate sex all the time, you can't help but rely on Beethoven to feel protected from what is the degradation of modern music and so for that reason Beethoven will always be the worlds most godly composer. Not to mention he wrote the entire ninth symphony, The worlds greatest piece of music, deaf like it was nothing such an inspiration and a pure genius, I guess writing music deaf is like painting a picture blind and yet Beethoven still surpassed most of his previous works... Pretty LEGENDARY GUYS
With out doubt Beethoven is the greatest composer that ever lived. Mozart composed for the weekend but Beethoven composed for eternity. He is the Michael Angelo of music. Beethoven demonstrates in his composition a deeply human touch. Strong but also vulnerable and romantic to the point of godlyness. His spiritual strenght was without match. Mozart was was close but his character was built on wealth and help form his family. Beethoven was not so fortunate his family lived off him. Once again demonstrating his great ability to live and suffer for his art. Beethoven is a one off. There will never be another Beethoven for the greatness of the man was closely allied to God. :-)
[Newest]Symphony No. 5 is a suspense piece. I like Beethoven's songs.
More comments about Ludwig Van Beethoven

2Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart, One of the most influential composers of the Classical Era. There is no mistake he was a musical genius. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had a gift for taking in and adapting important features of other kinds of music. His travels around Europe helped him compose and create a unique compositional language.

Anyone who loves classical music will love Wolfgang Amadeus, Anyone who hates classical will still love Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
He died at 35 years old, yet he is at the top 3 in these polls. Had he lived until 57 (like Beethoven) or 65 (like Bach), there would be no contest.

Wagner himself said: "The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts. "

An opinion from nothing less that Albert Einstein: "Mozart is the greatest composer of all. Beethoven created his music, but the music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it-that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed. "
I suppose it would be difficult to argue for who the "best" classical composer of all time is, whatever that may mean. But, It would be difficult to argue that Mozart is not the most intelligent of the classical composers. He composed his first piece at age 4, and his first symphony at age 7 ( a very impressive symphony I might add, go listen to it for yourself! ). He composed over 600 pieces during his life time and only lived to be less than half the age of most composers on this list! The quality of his music is also, in my opinion, of the highest quality. For starters I recommend listening to symphony 25, 39, but honestly I can't think of a single mozart piece that isn't high above average quality.
[Newest]Mozart music was simple not perfect but filled.
More comments about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

3Johann Sebastian Bach
No composer comes even close to the shear perfection and emotion of Bach. Bach was revered by most of his colleague-composers as being the one and only true greatest:

- Mozart: "That's something one can learn from! " when being overwhelmed by hearing a motet from Bach for the first time.
- Van Beethoven: "The eternal god of harmony" (he played Bach every day before and after composing in order to bring peace to his mind! Also others like Schumann, Czerny, Mendelssohn and Liszt played Bach every day)
- Brahms: "Study Bach! There you'll find everything! "
- Verdi: "O you lucky sons of the north who grew up at Bach's bosom, how I envy you! "
- Wagner: "The most stupendous miracle in all music! "
- Mendelssohn: "To think that it was a Jew (meaning himself) to bring the greatest Christian music back to life..."

A contemporary source who heard both and who was very familiar with the music of both Mozart and Bach:

- Frederick the Great (thirty years after hearing Bach live, to baron Von Swieten) : "There was only one like him in the world. He said that it was due to my theme that he was able to compose such heavenly music. What false modesty! It would be like saying that it's the crowing of the cockerel that makes the sun come up! "

And finally:

- NASA scientist Lewis Thomas upon the question what message we should send to alien life: "I'd vote for Bach's work, all of it, to be streamed into space. But that would be bragging..."

Sorry again guys... :D

Without a doubt, the father of modern music. His chorale harmonizations remain the foundation text of tonal harmony, and his synthesis of the French, German, and Italian styles of music created the expressive grammar and vocabulary that generations of composers have used to express their own ideas.

No one has ever succeeded in marrying the intellectual and emotional sides of music the way Bach did, with his amazing ability to combine beautiful melody with rigorous counterpoint and harmony. For just one example, listen to the Chaconne of Partita no. 2 for solo violin--a piece perfectly obedient to the strict rules of Baroque ground bass, yet a piece with such emotional depth and power that no less an authority than Brahms had the following to say about it:

"On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind. "
I am not per se a musician. I just like listening to classical music. You see Bach has to come very close to the very top because he wrote for organ, violin, piano - the lot, just listen to the Mass in B minor. Some of his compositions must be very difficult to play and sing. As far as I know Mozart and Beethoven composed for piano and orchestra but they were not articulate enough (blasphemy! ) to demonstrate to write for the king of instruments. Maybe they found the instrument boring; but not Bach. He seems to compose endlessly for all instruments and orchestra alike. Truly a genius, perhaps number 1.
[Newest]Between him and Mozart definitely

4Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
For the sheer beauty and power of his music, he stands out to me as the best. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, wonderful as they are, do not measure up to him. Whether it was his concertos or ballets, Tchaikovsky could bring about the whole spectrum of emotion and thought through his compositions. Exploding with the brass, or weaving ever so gently as upon a cool, calm lake, with a simple harp, flute, or violin, his music still takes us on extraordinary journeys. Of particular note, for me, are Swan Lake and his concerto for violin and orchestra, particularly the first movement of the latter and the finale of he former.
His versatility was astonishing. Apart from his many famous works there are numerous lesser known masterpieces such as a Liturgy, that reflects a deeply spiritual side (check out Hymn of The Cherubim). Also extraordinarily original orchestration, such as the 3rd orchestral suite, where in the middle of the scherzo movement, he treats the heavy brass with the delicacy of pizzicato strings (accompanied by side drum). Incidentally, a full six years before Richard Strauss in Don Quixote (1898), he used fluttertonguing in Nutcracker (1892). Just a few examples of originality. But Tchaikovsky did for ballet what Beethoven did for symphony.
To my mind, Tchaikovsky should be higher than Vivaldi, as his compositions are more diverse and deeply moving. He wrote in all musical forms, which Vivaldi didn't do.
[Newest]His Swan Lake is unmatched

5Frederic Chopin
I am often amazed to hear an amateur or pro pianist list their favorite composers, naming the usual German suspects; and then they play something for us... A beautiful tune by "Fryderyk f****** Chopin"! (trivia: which movie is this line from? )

Chopin is the most underrated composer. He is #1 in my book. Almost 500 works of such originality, some of them hiding most gorgeous melodies or tonal innovations. Case in point: listen to the etude op. 25 #5; easy to dismiss the piece after a few bars of a simple folksy staccato; but then you get to the middle part; sublime! And only repeated once; moving on to the next etude. If Beethoven (or the uber tedious, so predictable, boring, and totally overrated Schubert) ever came up with these 500 ideas, he would would have turned it into 500 grand symphonies or concertos, repeating the theme 20 times in each.

Still, I wish that someone embellished Chopin properly. Some pieces could really use a multi-instrumental treatment, but I would do this mainly to shut up people who complain about Chopin's 'narrow' range. Yes, I've heard some badly orchestrated versions of Chopin's pieces and yes, most are terrible. The problem is they miss the point: they orchestrate the whole thing and try to play all the notes. No! Leave the piano in to play the main theme; add the orchestra to add mood and background melody lines. Imagine how awesome the Nocturne op. 48 #1 would be if the second-half cascades were dramatized by an orchestra, leaving the piano to concentrate on the 2 interweaving melodies (again, both melodies would be famous in any Brahms concerto, because he would embellish it). Chopin only needs an engineer to "productize" his works for the masses. But as an engineer, I can tell you, that is the easy part. What Chopin did is incomparably genius and may not be (or will not be) beaten. If only he wasn't such a recluse (work with an orchestra! ), misanthrope, and an arrogant man, he would surely be loved by more people.

But if one has enough musicality and imagination, it is inescapable to consider Chopin the greatest composer, after listing to his singing piano...
Fryderyk Chopin was definitely the best composer of Romantic Period. Wrote many famous melodies. A lot of his pieces is technically so difficult and varied. I think it's hard to make "of all time" list. So we must create 3 lists: Greatest Baroque Composers (for me the greatest master of this period was Johann Sebastian Bach), Greatest Classical Composers (Wofgang Amadeus Mozart) and Greatest Romantic Composers (Fryderyk Chopin). Of course but where's Beethoven? He was great composer but only "great" and too overrated for me. Finally I type 3 great masters: Bach, Mozart and Chopin.
He had so much dynamic and composed so many beautiful and breath-taking masterpieces for such a young age. Etude Op. 25 No. 1 is much better than Bach's Two-Part Inventions...
[Newest]I don't know what it is, but something about his music just makes me /feel/.

6Antonio Vivaldi
This composer is just amazing... His ability to play with the feelings of the listeners is just... I Especially like winter and summer, they are just amazing... Amazin!
I really think that some of his works, and namely the 'Four Seasons', are the best never written until now by all musicians in the world. The 'Four Seasons', in particular, are simply perfect. Other words are superfluous.
Vivaldi music is sweet and beautiful. his works also contain beautiful violin timbre. His works are very colorful. I can always listen. I think that it is difficult to compare among composers.
Some great composers express deep emotions but it is too heavy for me to fully listen.
It is more suitable to instruct but not for entertaining mind
[Newest]He passed to us the creativity of nature and cosmos without obstacles, comparisons are unnecessary then; just listen to his lute concerto or ANY other composition, randomly

7Joseph Haydn
He is surely the best. He is one of the fathers of classical music and influenced beethoven, schubert. Why isn't he on the top 5?
Haydn for his originality, the ground he broke and his productivity should be in the top five...
More Baroque era, but still a very talented composer

8Franz Schubert
He's #1, heads and shoulders above the rest. The most elegant, the master of both melody and silence - the grace in simplicty. In fact, the greatest artist who ever lived. Listen to the oboe line in the Andante of his 9th or to D946.2.
Schubert was born in 1797 in Vienna, Austria. He is known for his piano pieces and his symphonies. He died at the young age of 32 from Syphilis and Typhoid fever. My favorite piece of his is Ave Maria.
For his incomparable lieder, his stupendous last symphonies and quartets and his oh so moving piano sonatas - yes, Schubert should definitely be in the top ten
[Newest]The perfect balance of structure and emotion.

9Johannes Brahms
So complex in pattern, yet so wonderful in harmony and texture. Each of his 4 symphonies is distinct in style and mood, and his two piano concerto's are as monumental as symphonies. The chamber music, especially containing piano and clarinet are broke new grounds.
Brahms has got a great symphony (No.4) and great violin and piano concertos. This fact alone makes him one of the greatest composers of all time.
Brahms must be after Bach Mozart Beethoven!

10George Frederick Handel
Handel is on the same level as Beethoven and Bach. Unfortunately he of all the major composers is known by the least number of works. If one takes the time to discover other oratorios and operas other then the handful known, a revelation will be at hand, I think Chopin being in the top list is stupid. He only wrote successfully for the piano and he was basically a miniaturist. Vivaldi being in top ten is ridicules. His choral works and operas pale when compared to Handel. For me and most of the professionals I know the top three not in order are Handel, Bach and Beethoven. I would never choose between them.
That Handel is not in the Top Ten is nothing short of a tragedy... Beethoven called him the greatest composer who ever lived: he was the yin to Bach's yang, the simplicity to balance the complexity, the emotion to match the technique, the ultimate musical master of simple means and devastating impact.
Handel was indeed a musical genius.Messiah for example is a piece that carries you along right from the cry of the first instrument, and I keep saying that knowing Handel is one of the sweetest things that have ever happened to me.

The Contenders

11Franz Liszt
A complete musician in every respect. Composer, conductor, pianist, teacher. A true genius with a mission who brought forth original ideas for the 20th Century to follow. His music although problematic in many cases was truly original and far reaching including his religious music with outstanding form.
Liszt was one of the greatest composers of all time. Friend of Chopin and student of Beethoven's pupil, Czerny, Franz Liszt popularized Hungarian music through his impressive musical works. He also served as a great teacher to dozens of talented musicians of the next generation.
How could you not pick listz he made songs of extreme technical skill god.
Gave him two hands and 10 fingers and he wrote songs of such skill and such musical complexity that it would almost require multiple hands like his transcendental etudes these etude play at such tempo's and cover almost all keys on the piano.

Or his concert etudes like la campanella one of the most technique and skill requiring songs he made
And like un sospiro such simplicity yet required so much skill how could you not put him at first

12Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel does not only deserve to be on the list, he is the greatest composer ever, TOP 1! I have never seen anybody with such technical perfection, just listen to his piano works, perfect, perfect, perfect!

13Gustav Mahler
Mahler is second only to Beethoven in his skill at the symphony. His orchestration bears a rich and complex texture, and there are passages from his fifth, ninth, and tenth symphonies which are some of the most darkly intellectual music ever written. Many of his lieder are also beautifully written.


He's the best ever!
my top 5:
1. Mahler
2. Tchaikovsky
3. Shostakovich
4. Beethoven
5. Bach
My favorite. Perhaps not as catchy or as accessible as others, but I love the heavy emotion and slow pace. He makes me cry.

14Felix Mendelssohn
Mendelssohn was born in 1847 in Lepzig, Germany. He is known for his symphonies and organ works. He died at the age of 38 from a stroke. My favorite piece of his is The War March of the Priests.

15John Williams
Williams is incredibly popular with his film scores. However, how many of the great classical composers in the past wouldn't have given their souls to do film if they had lived in our modern times. One of Williams influences which is all over his more suttle scores is the American great, Aaron Copland, who did touch on film scores. A lot of musicians in todays modern orchestras will owe part of their career to Williams for keeping them employed. God Bless John Williams!
He draw my dreams

16Igor Stravinsky
Composer of the greatest and most influential pieces of all time- The Rite of Spring
Stravinsky's music is unlike anything else.
He's the best of all time, here are my top ten
1. Igor Stravinsky
2. Antonio Vivaldi OHH who cares

17Claude Debussy
He is a genius who is one of the most influential musician of the 20th century who influenced many jazz musician.
Wrote Claire de Lune and Arabesque! Amazing
I do like tchaikovski, but thinking Debussy so far behind is flabbergasting...

18Richard Wagner
Wagner never EVER influenced heavy metal music. If he had ever listened to some of that crap he would've died. The music he composed was used with real musical instruments and coordination. Not electric garbage.
Deserves the first place for the best total work of art to ever grace humanity - Parsifal. The immeasurable depth and solemnity of this work will always lead humanity into heroic...
Wagner was born in 1813 in Leipzig, Germany. He is known for his symphonies and operas. He died at the age of 69 from a heart attack. My favorite piece of his is The Ride of The Valkyries.
[Newest]Give me a break - the most influential and original opera composer is 24th? Unbelievable. He and Haydn both should be in the top ten.

19Modest Mussorgsky

20Jean Sibelius
Fresh, natural, Nordic and Scandinavian that differs from all other composers (but Grieg). I love to listen the wind, sea and smell of deep green summer forests in the music, Especially the Symphony No. 2.

21Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi can't be 16 in the ranking. He deserves at least a top 8
The best opera composer the world has produced has to be in the top ten!
How this Italian genius cannot be included in the top 10

22Dmitry Shostakovich
I'm learning a concerto he composed... It's so beautiful. Also, I think gustav holst should be on here for the planets!
The most interesting composer of all time.

23Robert Schumann
Schumann, Brahms, Handel and Haydn are all too low, but I voted for Schumann because he was lowest of all of these. Second greatest lieder writer of all time, and also one of the greatest composers of solo piano music, plus some great orchestral and chamber works.
The True Romantic - his music has such energy. Very fine piano concerto and brilliant 1st and 3rd. Symphonies. He inspired others such as Brahms.

24Alexei Stanchinsky

25Antonin Dvorak
The Czech Beethoven. Was brilliant in just about every genre he touched (and he touched virtually all that existed at the time). One of the best composers of symphonies and chamber music of all-time. For some underrated gems try his Symphony No. 6 and the Piano Trio No. 3.
His Cello concerto no doubt brilliant. Also his 8th symphony.
Best composer of all times. No doubt.
[Newest]A truly great composer. Cello concerto H-moll - unbeatable!

26Alexander Borodin

27George Gershwin

28Sergei Prokofiev
Marvelous composer!. Listen to the fifth symphony only the second movement. That describes his style.
The score of Romeo and Juliet will make you cry.
He may not be the best... But he is my favourite!

29Giuseppe Tartini
Probably the best violinist of all time
Ah devil's thrill :3

30Stephen Sondheim

31Edvard Grieg
From the dramatic 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' to the relaxing 'Morning Mood', Greig's symphonies are breathtakingly amazing.
One of my favorite composers along with Vivaldi and Bach. His Holberg Suite is such a masterpiece.
I really like the gynt suite

32Johann Pachelbel
Pachelbel's Canon in D is AMAZING!
Pachelbel was born in 1653 in Nuremberg, Germany. He is known for writing his major piece Canon in D Major and his organ fugues. He died at the age of 52 from unknown causes. My favorite piece of his is Canon in D Major.

33Gustav Holst
Best known for his symphony, "The Planets, " Gustav Holst is a real icon for the late romantic era and early British nationalist music. Fond of folk tunes? Have a go at his Symphonies in E flat and F for military band - two of the greatest wind pieces I have ever heard, and a heartbreakingly beautiful interpretation of the English folk world.

34Olivier Messiaen
20th Century Composers are seriously underrated in this list, Here are some of my favourites

Olivier Messiaen
Arvo Pärt
Arnold Schönberg
Béla Bartók

35A. R. Rahman
Winner of 2 Academy award, and various Indian & International award winner for music.. Most wanted, most saleable music director of the world. More than 300 million record sold all over the world. He is the lving legend among all music composers. He is International musician, composed mainly in Tamil, Hindi, Mandarin, and English. One of his album translated & sold in 265 languages of the world.

36Arnold Schoenberg
I don't think he's really "classical"!


37Aram Khachaturian

38Aaron Copland

39Karlheinz Stockhausen
German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important (Barrett 1988, 45; Harvey 1975b, 705; Hopkins 1972, 33; Klein 1968, 117) but also controversial (Power 1990, 30) composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music" (Hewett 2007). He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.

40Ralph Vaughan Williams
Although think that composers such as Vivaldi, Beethoven, Wagner, Bach are more influential and important to music and even other Romantic era musicians such as Rachmaninoff, Holst and Elgar but Mr Williams is just a musical messiah. No other composer had this much passion for music and culture. He traveled the UK pubs learning local folk songs and recording them in order to preserve them, effectively saving a whole era of British music almost single-handedly.

I'm not a patriot by any means but Ralph Vaughn Williams is one of the few people that honestly makes me glad to be British. Also, it has been reported that he was one of the kindest, most selfless men around by his peers and family. Nobody has the ability to 'flow' music better than Williams, just listen to 'Thomas Talis on a theme fantasia' while someone like Beethoven just seems to build to crescendo after crescendo, Williams does the complete opposite and mostly teases towards crescendos such as with pieces like Barbers Adagio.

This is just my taste in music, I also have massive respect and love for various Baroque composers and even earlier as I have mentioned above. Most Classical is just not my cup of tea. I just find it far to show off-y and as much as I can respect the complexity of something like Mozart, I just can't stand to listen to it, I find it too emotionless, so take that as you will. Although there are exceptions.


Splendid music. Pure beauty.

41Henry Purcell

Made Symphony (Only Asian) in RPO, London & "How to Nae it? & "Nothing But Wind"... 1000 Movies as Music Director made in Tamil, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu&Marathi
Composed so many ever green songs and bgms in the 80s. Listen to his songs. music has no language barrier
Ilaiyaraja = Music God

43Yoshiki Hayashi
I am proud of yoshiki being in the list, he is so a great composer and I think he is something like our XXI century mozart just saying...

44Anton Bruckner
No composer reached to the bare human condition as profoundly as Anton Bruckner. It feels like coming home and being alienated at the same time. He showed that religiuous feelings are about openness to reality, letting transcendence speak for itself. No composer achieved this like he did. As someone put it: primordial matter evoked in sound.

45Giacomo Puccini
Some of the hest operas ever written ( la bohem, madama butterfly, turandot) came from his pen


46Gioachino Rossini
He and Tchaikovsky are the two most entertaining. They are my top two. That's what music is all about. They were both ahead of their time in relating to an evolving audience. Rossini's William Tell is one of the few compositions which has universal appeal. Most of his overtures were in reality "mini-symphonies" as a bonus before the opera even begins. He was the first great modern entertainer.
How did Rossini end up being 48th? He set the stage for Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. He carried Italian on his back for over a decade. He is highly original, extremely entertaining and moving. He deserves to be much higher.
Such great ear pleasure

47Edgard Varese

48Béla Bartók
Too much underrated composer! ! !
You should listen his String Quartet No. 5 and 6, if you are finding haunting masterpiece
49th position for one of the really great creators in human history makes this whole list ludicrous apart from the top few. Maybe the problems is that he has too few 1st votes. Before some moron says 'it's a matter of opinion' this is like saying that Joshua Reynolds is more important than say Titian or Goya.

49Hans Zimmer
Greatest music compose ever!

50Georges Bizet
The composer of the most famous opera; Opera Carmen. He's also the composer of L'Arlesienne.


51Camille Saint-Saens
Amazing composer can't believe sits at 50! He wrote the Carnival of the Animals which inspires young children to listen to music, in my point of view, the swan is the best, and all his works deserve this guy to be top 30

52Erik Satie
The composer with the most peculiar attitude on music. Pioneered impressionism, minimalism, yet was always for something unusual, special, particular...

53Howard Shore

54Arvo Pärt
Spiegel I'm spiegel is one of the most sensitive and deep pieces I've ever heard. Simply magnificent

55Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

56Hector Berlioz
Have we all forgotten the first great romantic composer, and his awe-inspiring "Symphonie Fantastique"? This man truly deserves to be in at least the top ten!

57Benjamin Britten
Fascinating man, prodigiously gifted, whose works have stood the test of time. His music is challenging but richly rewarding upon repeated listening. A Giant among 20th Century composers!
For his range - operas, concerto's, songs and orchestral music - I would put him in the bottom of the top ten - just over Stravinsky, actually

58Edward Maya

59Jacques Offenbach
Let's face it: anybody who could create a piece of music that is today as recognizable as Infernal Gallop (more popularly known as the Cancan) is deserving to be on this list.

60Uzeyir Hajibeyov
One of the greatest from Azerbaijan!

61Edward Elgar
How can such a brilliant man be so far down this list

62Mauro Giuliani
In my opinion, the greatest guitar composer ever

63Bedrich Smetana

64Franz von Suppe

65Claudio Monteverdi

66Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
The Flight of the Bumblebee is so masterfully crafted, so ingeniously put together that this song alone qualifies Rimsky-Korsakov to be on the list.

67Arcangelo Corelli
You all folks need to hear this composer, and you will feel real chords...

68Dmitri Kabalevsky

69Leevi Madetoja

70Samuel Barber
How could anyone not think Adagio for Strings was worthy of a very high place on the list?

71Carl Stamitz

72Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

73Pierre Boulez

74Clara Schumann

75James Horner

76Danny Elfman

77Johann Christian Bach

78Johann Strauss I

79Jonny Greenwood

80Charles-Valentin Alkan
Have you seen his etudes then you will understand he should be first

81Sylvia Filus

82Ennio Morricone

83Johann Friedrich Franz Burgmüller

84Stephen Heller

85Eric Whitacre

86Steve Reich
Just to name a few of this guy's masterpieces: Music for 18 Musicians, Electric Counterpoint, Different Trains, 2x5

87Josquin des Prez
Not for me the greatest actually, that would be Bach or Vivaldi. But he was by far the greatest composer of his day, with a colossal reputation, and his influence is widespread even today. "Josquin will survive because his best music really is as magnificent as everybody has always said it was." - Richard Sherr

88Adam Young
The one composer who deserves to stands among the legends

89John Powell

90Sergei Rachmaninoff
How on earth is Rachmaninoff not on here... pure genius. His Piano Concertos are excellent but his Preludes are really I think some of the most beautiful piano pieces of all time.

Chopin and Debussy are quite excellent as well. Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky are way overrated. Bach was obviously obscenely talented and his pieces are fascinating, but I would much rather listen to Rachmaninoff, Chopin, or Debussy any day of the week.


I very much appreciate classical music but I am picky about what I listen to. Rachmaninoff is in a class by himself, a pianist even better than Horowitz and a composer of the most memorable pieces for the piano in my lifetime. In fact I consider his concerto no. 2 as THE BEST EVER. And to be rated 22 on your list is shockingly absurd.
Not only one of the greatest, but THE greatest romantic writer of all time in my opinion. This is a man who spent all of his life as a seer of the world, and from that heartache, wrote some of the greatest and most well-known pieces of the classical repetoire. Not only a miracle to classical music, but a miracle to humanity. Top 5 EASILY!
[Newest]One of the greats for sure!

91John Cage

92Niccolò Paganini
Not so much of a great musical composer but a violin player... Hmm...

93Johann Strauss II
His waltzes are to die for, I just soar whilst listening to them. Blue Danube, Voices of Spring, Annen-Polka...

94Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss of Elektra, Salome and all his operas, his enchanting symphonic poems and songs is 90th? Wow... I put him at the bottom of the top ten... An amazingly inventive composer.

95Wojciech Kilar

96John Dowland

97Joly Braga Santos

Comments About This List

Featured Lists
Popular Lists
New Lists

Top Remixes of This List






see more...

Posts About This List

List Info

This list was created 6 years, 224 days ago and has been voted on over 3,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 20 times and has been blogged about 2 times.

Updated Friday, April 24, 2015

List Error Reporting

See an item on this list that's misspelled, duplicated, or doesn't belong? Let us know. Click here to report the error.