Top 10 Composers of All Time

Published: February 11, 2015

If you are interested in various types of music over the ages, then this list is for you.  I will outline the greatest composers up until todayand short descriptions of why I think they are the best.  

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach

    Bach was a composer from the baroque period that is famous for writing some of the greatest fugues of all time.  His main instrument was the organ, and so spent a great deal of his time in churches.  However, his music did not follow the form of simple hymns.  Bach recreated these pieces in beautiful and inventive ways, and has since been a composer that many composers today still want to emulate in their writing.  

  2. Ludwig van Beethoven

    Beethoven is famous to the general public as being the composer that went deaf at an early age, and could no longer hear the music he was composing.  This, however, did not stop him from becoming one of the greatest composers of all time.  Bach composed in the Classical period of music, along with Mozart and Haydn, but he had such a different style than them.  He was known for taking the most risks, and creating such complex harmonies that many in the Classical period did not think his music was good.  Today, his works are well-known to almost everyone and include timeless pieces, such as Ode to Joy and Symphony No. 5.  

  3. Franz Schubert

    Schubert is known for his gorgeous songwriting skills, and has been wowing audiences since the early 1800s.  The melodies in his songs are so lyrical and beautifl that no one can argue the talent and skill it took for him to write such compelling music.  In fact, he was so skilled at writing these songs that it is said that as soon as he finished one, he set it to the side and starting writing the next one.  

  4. Frederic Chopin

    Chopin was a composer in the Romantic period of music and his known for his breathtaking piano solos.  He was extremely innovative, and was able to transform simple piano melodies into beautiful works of art with chromatic harmonies that have brought many to tears.  He also wrote for orchestras, but there is no question that he is the master of piano solo works.  

  5. Johannes Brahms

    Though many composers are known for venturing outside of the proper forms of their musical times, Brahms was known for actually following the forms and still creating gorgeous music.  He was a great fugue composer, second only to Bach himself.  He also wrote four symphonies, his most famous being his Requiem in German.  

  6. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Mozart, known for being a child prdigy, is one of the youngest, most successful composers of all time.  Ever since he was a small child, Mozart has been able to captivate audiences with his beautiful music, known for having graceful embellishments.  He was able to write an extensive list of music during his short life, which unfortunately ended when he was only 35 years old.  Despite this, Mozart has been able to make a lasting impression on the history of Classical music.  

  7. Pyotr Tchaikovsky

    Tchaikovsky is best know for his ballet, The Nutcracker, but that is not where the works of this Russian composer ended.  He wrote symphonies, concertos, and operas, as well, and was the first Russian composer to make a lasting impression on the entire country.  Though Tchaikovsky had many personal hardships throughout his life, his music has withheld throughout the years, and is still enjoyed widely today.  

  8. Sergei Rachmaninov

    Rachmaninov is best known for writing some of the most difficult (if not impossible) piano pieces to this day.  He had giant hands that allowed him to reach the complex chords and harmonies that he wrote into his music.  He was Russian, like Tchaikovsky, and was known as one of the finest pianists and composers of his day, if not the last great composer of the Romantic period.  

  9. Antonio Vivaldi

    Vivaldi was an Italian composer during the Baroque period, best known for writing his violin concerto, The Four Seasons.  He is widely considered one of the best composers of the Baroque period, second to Bach.  Many of his compositions were written for a female music ensembe that was created at a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi had worked.  

  10. Franz Liszt

    Liszt was a 19th century Hungarian composer that also served as a conductor and teacher to many music ensembles and students.  Like Rachmaninov, Liszt was known for being one of the greatest pianists of his time because of how advanced his techiniques were.  He was the teacher of many famous composers Richard Wagner, Camille Saint-Saens, and Edvard Grieg.  

There were outstanding musicians throughout the different periods of music, but these are the ten that I think strongly outweigh the others.