19th Century Composers

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Composers, including Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Jean Sibelius, Giuseppe Verdi and Camille Saint-Saëns

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 30, 1770
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bonn, Germany
Died: March 26, 1827

German composer and pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven, remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music even two centuries after his death. Born into a musical family, he was initially tutored by his father. He found success early as a pianist and went on to become an admired composer despite suffering from hearing-impairment.

 2 Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 1, 1810
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Żelazowa Wola, Poland
Died: October 17, 1849

Romantic Era virtuoso pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin, nicknamed The Poet of the Piano, is remembered as the inventor of the instrumental ballade. The legendary composer mostly created solo piano masterpieces but also experimented with piano concertos and chamber pieces. He was influenced by Bach, Mozart, and Polish folk music.

 3 Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner
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Famous As: Composer, conductor, theatre director
Birthdate: May 22, 1813
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: February 13, 1883
German composer and conductor Richard Wagner is best remembered for his operas and music dramas. He explored the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which combined many forms of art, including the visual, poetic, and musical. He also established the opera house Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which hosted his works The Ring and Parsifal.
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 4 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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Famous As: Composer of the Romantic period
Birthdate: May 7, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Votkinsk, Russia
Died: November 6, 1893

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer to place Russian music on the international stage. Often described as a musician who transcended the stereotypes of classical Russian music, Tchaikovsky is credited with making the Western world take note of Russian music. Although he was criticized by the critics, his popularity among the public never faded.

 5 Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist and Teacher of the Romantic Era
Birthdate: October 22, 1811
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Raiding, Austria
Died: July 31, 1886

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.

 6 Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 22, 1862
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: March 25, 1918

Claude Debussy was a French composer whose career spanned over 30 years. Regarded as one of the most influential composers of his generation, Claude Debussy's works have influenced several other composers, such as Bill Evans, George Benjamin, Olivier Messiaen, and Béla Bartók. Claude Debussy is also regarded as the first Impressionist composer, though he rejected the term.

 7 Franz Peter Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 31, 1797
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Himmelpfortgrund, Vienna, Austria
Died: November 19, 1828

Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert was one of the most prominent figures of the Viennese Classical and Romantic periods. He initially performed at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. His compositions include over 600 vocal works and several symphonies, operas, and piano sonatas. One of his most-talked-about works is the Unfinished Symphony.

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 8 Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 31, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rohrau, Austria
Died: May 31, 1809

Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer who played a key role in the progression of chamber music during the Classical period. He is often referred to as the Father of the String Quartet and Father of the Symphony for his contributions to musical form. Joseph Haydn is also credited with mentoring and tutoring Mozart and Beethoven, respectively.

 9 Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Pianist
Birthdate: May 7, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: April 3, 1897
German composer, conductor, and pianist Johannes Brahms is considered as one of the "Three Bs" of music, the other two being Bach and Beethoven. He was known for his perfectionism. Some of his best-known works are Saint Anthony Variations and A German Requiem. His work mingled traditional and modern elements.

 10 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oneg, Russia
Died: March 28, 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, conductor, and virtuoso pianist of the late Romantic period. Credited with exploring the expressive possibilities of the piano, Rachmaninoff's music continues to be featured in films. His four-year struggle with depression, which was followed by the critical failure of his Symphony No. 1, was depicted in the 2015 musical Preludes.

 11 Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor
Birthdate: July 7, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kaliště, Czechia
Died: May 18, 1911

Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer and conductor Gustav Mahler symbolized the transition of 19th-century Austro-German music to early-20th-century modernism. His music was banned during the Nazi era but was rediscovered later. Famous for his Eighth Symphony, he had also been the director of the Hofoper (Vienna Court Opera).

 12 Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann
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Famous As: One of the Greatest Composer of the Romantic Era which include 'Carnaval, Symphonic Studies and Kinderszenen'
Birthdate: June 8, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zwickau, Germany
Died: July 29, 1856
Robert Schumann was a German pianist, music critic, and composer. An influential musician of the Romantic era, Schumann is considered one of the greatest composers of the era. Schumann was initially focused on becoming the finest pianist in Europe. However, a hand injury brought an end to his dream, forcing him to focus on composing.

 13 Antonín Dvořák

Antonín Dvořák
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 8, 1841
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nelahozeves, Prague, Czechia
Died: May 1, 1904

Antonín Dvořák was a Czech composer who achieved worldwide recognition for his works. His life and career inspired the 1980 historical biographical film Concert at the End of Summer, in which Dvořák was played by actor Josef Vinklář. Canadian children's author Ian Krykorka has based many of his works on some of Antonín Dvořák's operas.

 14 Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 3, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 4, 1847

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer of the early Romantic period. He was also a skilled organist, pianist, and conductor. He composed symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and organ music. His collection of lyrical piano songs Songs Without Words is among his best-known works. He was the founder of the public university The Leipzig Conservatory. He died aged just 38. 

 15 Erik Satie

Erik Satie
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: May 17, 1866
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Honfleur, France
Died: July 1, 1925

Erik Satie was a French pianist and composer. An influential artist during his time, Satie's works served as a predecessor to later artistic movements like repetitive music, minimalism, and the Theatre of the Absurd. Apart from being a musician, Erik Satie was also a prolific writer, who contributed to publications, such as Vanity Fair and 391.

 16 Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 10, 1813
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Le Roncole, Italy
Died: January 27, 1901

Legendary Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi is best remembered for his masterpieces such as Requiem, Rigoletto, Falstaff, and Otello. He was also briefly associated with the Risorgimento movement meant to unify Italy and thus composed many choruses reflecting the spirit. He was inspired by composers such as Bellini and Donizetti.

 17 Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: March 7, 1875
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ciboure, France
Died: December 28, 1937
French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel is best known for his orchestral composition Boléro. He rejected the Legion d'honneur and all French awards. He was one the first composers to realize the importance of recording music to gain a wider reach. Most of his music consisted of piano and orchestration.

 18 Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev
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Famous As: Composer and pianist
Birthdate: April 23, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Krasne, Ukraine
Died: March 5, 1953

Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian Soviet pianist, composer, and conductor. Renowned for creating masterpieces across various genres, Prokofiev is widely considered one of the 20th century's major composers. Many other composers like Arthur Honegger have called Prokofiev the greatest contemporary musician of all time. An open pianists' competition, which is held every year in Ukraine, is named after Sergei Prokofiev.

 19 Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: December 22, 1858
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lucca, Italy
Died: November 29, 1924

Born into a musical dynasty, composer Giacomo Puccini lost his father at age 5. Some of his best opera pieces include Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. The suicide of his maid, who was wrongly accused by his wife of being in an affair with him, affected his later career adversely.

 20 Richard Georg Strauss

Richard Georg Strauss
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Famous As: Considered a Leading Composer of The Late Romantic & Early Modern Eras
Birthdate: June 11, 1864
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: September 8, 1949

Richard Georg Strauss was a German conductor, composer, violinist, and pianist. Renowned for his pioneering subtleties of orchestration, Strauss is generally regarded as a modernist, although he was initially considered a conservative, backwards-looking composer. Over the years, his music has influenced other prominent composers like Béla Viktor János Bartók, Karol Maciej Szymanowski, Edward Elgar, and Benjamin Britten.

 21 Edvard Grieg

Edvard Grieg
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: June 15, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: September 4, 1907
Regarded as Norway’s Shakespeare, musical legend Edvard Grieg learned the piano from his mother. The Scottish claim he was their own, as Grieg’s Scottish grandfather had migrated to Norway. Grieg was known for his compositions such as the Piano Concerto and for infusing Norwegian folk elements into his music.

 22 Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: December 8, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hämeenlinna, Finland
Died: September 20, 1957

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish violinist and composer. Widely regarded as Finland's greatest composer, Sibelius' music is credited with having kindled nationalism in Finland during the country's struggle for independence from Russia. His work has inspired other important composers like Douglas Lilburn. The International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, which is held every five years, is named after him.

 23 Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Röcken, Lützen, Germany
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

 24 Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 2, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Broadheath, England
Died: February 23, 1934

 25 Gioachino Rossini

Gioachino Rossini
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 29, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pesaro, Italy
Died: November 13, 1868

Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer best remembered for composing 39 operas before retiring at the peak of his popularity when he was still in his 30s. Such is his influence on modern-day virtuosi that many of them have created piano fantasies or transcriptions based on Gioachino Rossini's melodies.  

 26 Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 13, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leopoldstadt, Vienna, Austria
Died: July 13, 1951
Austrian-born composer Arnold Schoenberg was part of the German Expressionist Movement and led the Second Viennese School. Being Jewish, he was banned by the Nazis and later became an American citizen. Known for his twelve-tone technique, he coined the term developing variation and formed motifs without a centralized melodic idea.

 27 Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor
Birthdate: December 11, 1803
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: La Côte-Saint-André, France
Died: March 8, 1869

Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic conductor and composer who was highly regarded in places like Russia, Britain, and Germany. Although he did not achieve fame as a composer, Berlioz became renowned internationally for his skills as a conductor. He also wrote musical journalism, which includes his influential work, Treatise on Instrumentation. 

 28 Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 12, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Down Ampney, England
Died: August 26, 1958

 29 Niccolo Paganini

Niccolo Paganini
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Famous As: Violinist, Composer
Birthdate: October 27, 1782
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Genoa
Died: May 27, 1840
Italian multi-instrumentalist and composer Niccolò Paganini established himself as one of the key figures of modern violin technique. Son of a trader-turned-street musician, he started his stint with music by learning to play the mandolin. Some of his most celebrated compositions were the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin Op. 1.

 30 Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin
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Famous As: Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Songwriter, Screenwriter, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tyumen
Died: September 22, 1989

Irving Berlin was a composer and lyricist. He made tremendous contributions to the Great American Songbook and is widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. He had an extensive career spanning six decades, during which he composed an estimated 1,500 songs. He received the Lawrence Langner Tony Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

 31 Antonio Salieri

Antonio Salieri
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor
Birthdate: August 18, 1750
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Legnago, Italy
Died: May 7, 1825

Antonio Salieri was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and teacher considered a key figure in the development of late 18th-century opera. He was a protégé of eminent composer Christoph Willibald Gluck. For several years, he served as the director of the Italian opera by the Habsburg court. His works were performed widely across Europe during his lifetime. 

 32 Charles Ives

Charles Ives
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 20, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut, United States
Died: May 19, 1954

 33 Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns
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Famous As: Composer, Organist, Pianist
Birthdate: October 9, 1835
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 16, 1921
French composer and multi-instrumentalist Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was an icon of the Romantic era, known for masterpieces such as the First Cello Concerto and the opera Samson and Delilah. He was initially a church organist and then became a freelance composer and pianist. He also taught music in Paris.

 34 Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin
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Famous As: Composer & Pianist
Birthdate: November 24, 1868
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texas, United States
Died: April 1, 1917
Composer and pianist Scott Joplin, or the King of Ragtime, had written more than 100 original ragtime pieces. His most iconic piece was the Maple Leaf Rag. He had also written two operas, including Treemonisha. He was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. The film The Sting featured his compositions.

 35 John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa
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Famous As: Conductor, Composer
Birthdate: November 6, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: March 6, 1932

 36 Johann Strauss II

Johann Strauss II
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 25, 1825
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Neubau, Vienna, Austria
Died: June 3, 1899

Johann Strauss II, also known as The Waltz King, was initially pushed by his composer father Johann Strauss I to become a banker, while he learned the violin secretly and conducted a restaurant band. Best remembered for his iconic composition The Blue Danube, he redefined the 19th-century waltzes and operettas.

 37 Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst
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Famous As: Was an English Composer
Birthdate: September 21, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Died: May 25, 1934

 38 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 18, 1844
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tikhvin, Russia
Died: June 21, 1908

While he grew up listening to Russian folk songs and church music, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov later joined the navy with his brother. One of the legendary Russian composers known as The Mighty Handful, he is remembered for his pieces such as Flight of the Bumblebee from the opera Tsar Saltan.

 39 Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster
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Famous As: Composer known as the Father of American music
Birthdate: July 4, 1826
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 13, 1864

 40 Clara Wieck Schumann

Clara Wieck Schumann
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Famous As: Musician & Composer
Birthdate: September 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leipzig
Died: May 20, 1896

Clara Wieck Schumann was a German pianist, teacher, and composer. One of the most famous pianists of the Romantic era, Schumann changed the way concerts were conducted during her time and made a long-lasting impression as a pianist. She also influenced other pianists through her teaching; among her students were famous English pianist, Mathilde Verne.

 41 Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 25, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 3, 1875

Georges Bizet was a French composer whose career was cut short by his untimely demise at the age of 36. Since his death in 1875, Bizet's final work Carmen has become one of the most frequently performed works in the opera repertoire. Although he couldn’t achieve success during his lifetime, Bizet's death is considered a loss to French musical theatre.

 42 William Herschel

William Herschel
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: November 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: August 23, 1822

William Herschel was a German-born British astronomer and composer. He pioneered the use of astronomical spectrophotometry and discovered infrared radiation. Impressed by his work, King George III appointed him the Court Astronomer. Herschel often collaborated with his sister, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, a fellow astronomer. In 1816, he was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order. 

 43 Leos Janacek

Leos Janacek
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: July 3, 1854
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hukvaldy, Czechia
Died: August 12, 1928

Leos Janacek was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, and teacher. He is credited to have created an original, modern musical style inspired by Moravian and other Slavic folk music. He was deeply influenced by folklore and by the works of his contemporary and friend,  Antonín Dvořák. The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra is named in his honor. 

 44 Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Mussorgsky
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 21, 1839
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Karevo, Russia
Died: March 28, 1881

Modest Mussorgsky was a Russian composer best remembered for being part of a renowned 19th-century Russian composers group known as The Five. An innovator of Russian music, Mussorgsky worked towards achieving a Russian musical identity that challenged the already established Western music, which was generally considered conventional at that time.

 45 Jack Frost

Jack Frost
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 25, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: October 21, 1959

 46 Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré
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Famous As: Composer, Organist
Birthdate: October 22, 1845
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pamiers, France
Died: June 4, 1924

One of the greatest composers of all time, French pianist and organist Gabriel Fauré is best remembered for his masterpieces such as Requiem. His music career began at 9, when he was sent to Paris to become a choirmaster. At 75, he was awarded the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'honneur.

 47 Ernest II

Ernest II
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Famous As: Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Birthdate: June 21, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: August 22, 1893

Ernest II, the eldest son of Duke Ernest I, had been the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He was quite close to his brother, Prince Albert, consort to England’s Queen Victoria. Best known for his support of the German unification, he was also a skilled composer of operas and an avid sports lover.

 48 Bedrich Smetana

Bedrich Smetana
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 2, 1824
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Litomysl, Czechia
Died: May 12, 1884

Bedrich Smetana was a Czech composer remembered for his opera, The Bartered Bride. Considered the father of Czech music, Smetana was a prodigy whose first public performance came at age six. He then went on to establish himself as one of the most important composers of Czech music. Smetana has been honored with a Walk of Fame star in Vienna.

 49 Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton
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Famous As: Pianist, Bandleader, Composer, Conductor, Jazz musician
Birthdate: October 20, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gulfport
Died: July 10, 1941

 50 Aleksandr Scriabin

Aleksandr Scriabin
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: December 25, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: April 14, 1915

Russian composer and pianist Aleksandr Scriabin is considered one of the most innovative and controversial of early modern composers. Interested in music from an early age, he built pianos as a young man and didn’t take long to establish himself as a brilliant composer. Unfortunately, he died at the height of his career, at the age of just 43.