19th Century Musicians

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Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Musicians, including Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Wagner, Jeanne Calment and Franz Liszt
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 1 
Ludwig van Beethoven
(One of the Most Admired Composers and Pianists in the History of Western Music)
Ludwig van Beethoven
41
Birthdate: December 17, 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
(Polish Composer and Virtuoso Pianist of the Romantic Period)
Frédéric Chopin
9
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
(Known for His Operas and Music Dramas ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ and ‘Tristan und Isolde’)
Richard Wagner
9
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
(Russian Romantic Composer Best Known for His Ballet Compositions ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘The Nutcracker’)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
9
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.

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 5 
Claude Debussy
(French Impressionist Composer Best Known for His Opera 'Pelléas et Mélisande')
Claude Debussy
9
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.

 6 
Franz Liszt
(Composer, Pianist and Teacher of the Romantic Era)
Franz Liszt
9
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.

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 7 
Franz Peter Schubert
(Austrian Composer and One of the Greatest Piano Virtuosos of the Late Classical and Early Romantic Era)
Franz Peter Schubert
6
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.

 8 
Joseph Haydn
(Composer of the Classical Period Known As 'Father of the Symphony' & 'Father of the String Quartet')
Joseph Haydn
8
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 
Sergei Rachmaninoff
(Russian Composer Who Was Considered One of the Finest Pianists of His Era)
Sergei Rachmaninoff
8
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Starorussky Uyezd
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.

 10 
Johannes Brahms
(One of the Romantic Period's Most Revered and Popular Composers)
Johannes Brahms
7
Birthdate: May 7, 1833
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.
 11 
Robert Schumann
(One of the Greatest Composer of the Romantic Era which include 'Carnaval, Symphonic Studies and Kinderszenen')
Robert Schumann
5
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.
 12 
Gustav Mahler
(One of the Most Frequently Performed and Recorded of All Composers)
Gustav Mahler
5
Birthdate: July 7, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Czeh Republic
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).

 13 
Giuseppe Verdi
(One of the Greatest Opera Composers of the 19th Century)
Giuseppe Verdi
5
Birthdate: October 10, 1813
Sun Sign: Libra
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.

Rabindranath Tagore
9
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 15 
Erik Satie
(French Composer and Pianist Known for His Work ‘Gymnopédies’)
Erik Satie
5
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 
Felix Mendelssohn
(Best Known for His Solo Piano Composition 'Songs Without Words' and Founder of 'Leipzig Conservatory')
Felix Mendelssohn
7
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. 

 17 
Sergei Prokofiev
(Composer and pianist)
Sergei Prokofiev
4
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.

 18 
Antonín Dvořák
(One of the First Czech Composers to Achieve Worldwide Recognition)
Antonín Dvořák
7
Birthdate: September 8, 1841
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
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.

 19 
Niccolo Paganini
(Italian Violinist and Composer Best Known for His Work '24 Caprices for Solo Violin Op. 1')
Niccolo Paganini
7
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.
 20 
Giacomo Puccini
(Italian Composer Known for His Works ‘La Bohème’, ‘Tosca’ and ‘Madama Butterfly’)
Giacomo Puccini
4
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.

 21 
Richard Georg Strauss
(Considered a Leading Composer of The Late Romantic & Early Modern Eras)
Richard Georg Strauss
4
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.

 22 
Maurice Ravel
(One of the Leading Composers of Impressionist Music, Known for His Orchestral Work "Boléro,")
Maurice Ravel
6
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.
 23 
Edvard Grieg
(One of the Main Composers of the Romantic Era)
Edvard Grieg
6
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.
 24 
Jean Sibelius
(Finnish Composer Known for His 'Seven Symphonies' and His Tone Poem 'Tapiola')
Jean Sibelius
4
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.

 25 
Edward Elgar
(Composer)
Edward Elgar
4
Birthdate: June 2, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Broadheath, England
Died: February 23, 1934
 26 
Gioachino Rossini
(Italian composer Best Known for His Operas: ‘The Barber of Seville’, ‘La Cenerentola’ and ‘Semiramide’)
Gioachino Rossini
5
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.  

 27 
Arnold Schoenberg
(One of the Most Influential Composers of the 20th Century)
Arnold Schoenberg
8
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.
 28 
Cole Porter
(Composer, Songwriter)
Cole Porter
5
Birthdate: June 9, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Peru, Indiana, United States
Died: October 15, 1964
Singer-songwriter Cole Porter is best known for his work in the Tony-winning musical, Kiss Me, Kate and for his hit tracks Night and Day, Got You Under My Skin, and You're the Top. He also composed for movies. His marriage to Linda Lee Thomas was a cover for his homosexuality.
 29 
Hector Berlioz
(French Composer and Conductor Known for His Work ‘Symphonie fantastique’, ‘Harold in Italy’ and ‘Roméo et Juliette’)
Hector Berlioz
4
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. 

 30 
Ralph Vaughan Williams
5
Birthdate: October 12, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Down Ampney, England
Died: August 26, 1958
 31 
Ma Rainey
(Street artist, Musician)
Ma Rainey
12
Birthdate: April 26, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Georgia, United States
Died: December 22, 1939
 32 
Antonio Salieri
(Composer, Conductor)
Antonio Salieri
5
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. 

 33 
Irving Berlin
(Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Songwriter, Screenwriter, Film score composer)
Irving Berlin
4
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. 

 34 
Aleksandr Scriabin
(One of the Most Controversial Composer-Pianists of the Early 20th Century)
Aleksandr Scriabin
5
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. 

 35 
Scott Joplin
(Composer & Pianist)
Scott Joplin
4
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.
 36 
Camille Saint-Saëns
(One of the Greatest Organists and Composers of the Romantic Era)
Camille Saint-Saëns
4
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.
 37 
Lead Belly
(Folk and blues singer)
Lead Belly
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mooringsport, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 6, 1949
 38 
Albert Schweitzer
(Physician and Founder of the “Albert Schweitzer Hospital” in Lambaréné,)
Albert Schweitzer
4
Birthdate: January 14, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kaysersberg-Vignoble, France
Died: September 4, 1965

Albert Schweitzer was an Alsatian polymath who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophical work, Reverence for Life. He is credited with founding the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which was a direct result of his philosophical expression. Schweitzer is also credited with influencing the Organ reform movement, which began in the mid-20th-century.

 39 
Charles Ives
(Composer)
Charles Ives
3
Birthdate: October 20, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut, United States
Died: May 19, 1954
 40 
John Philip Sousa
(Conductor, Composer)
John Philip Sousa
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: March 6, 1932
 41 
Johann Strauss II
(Austrian Composer of Light Music)
Johann Strauss II
3
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.

 42 
Arturo Toscanini
(Conductor)
Arturo Toscanini
5
Birthdate: March 25, 1867
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: January 16, 1957
 43 
Stephen Foster
(Composer known as the Father of American music)
Stephen Foster
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1826
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 13, 1864
 44 
Gustav Holst
(Was an English Composer)
Gustav Holst
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Died: May 25, 1934
 45 
Ernest II
(Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)
Ernest II
4
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.

 46 
Jimmie Rodgers
(Singer-songwriter and musician)
Jimmie Rodgers
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Meridian, Mississippi, United States
Died: May 26, 1933
 47 
George M. Cohan
(American playwright)
George M. Cohan
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Died: November 5, 1942
 48 
Leos Janacek
(One of the Most Important Czech Composers of the 20th Century)
Leos Janacek
3
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. 

 49 
Jack Frost
(Composer)
Jack Frost
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: October 21, 1959
 50 
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
(Russian Composer Known for His Operas: ‘Sadko’ and ‘The Tale of Tsar Saltan’)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
4
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.