Famous 20th Century Pianists

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Pianists, including Freddie Mercury, Liberace, Elton John, John Williams and Ross Lynch.

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 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff.
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Velikiy Novgorod
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.

 2 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury.
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stone Town, Tanzania
Died: November 24, 1991

Legendary singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the British rock band, Queen, Frederick Bulsara adopted the name Freddie Mercury which aptly suits his on-stage vibrant and exuberant persona. A four-octave vocal range musician, Mercury owned every stage he set foot on as much with his vivid performance as with his superhuman voice modulation.  

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 3 John Lennon

John Lennon.
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: December 8, 1980

John Lennon was part of the hugely successful and popular music band, Beatles. It became the first British band to break out big in the US. However, they eventually broke up. Subsequently, Lennon went solo, with 1971 album, Imagine, being his most successful and acclaimed post-Beatles efforts. Sadly he was shot dead by a deranged fan in New York.

 4 John Williams

John Williams.
5
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Floral Park

John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.

 5 Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris.
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Famous As: Disc Jockey, Record Producer, Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dumfries, Scotland
Grammy-winning DJ Calvin Harris soared to fame with his album I Created Disco. His track We Found Love, a collaboration with Rihanna, charted on the US Billboard Hot 100. He owns a record label and topped Forbes's list of the highest-paid DJs of the world for 6 years.

 6 Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton.
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Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 7 Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole.
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Famous As: Vocalist, Pianist
Birthdate: March 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: February 15, 1965
Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African-American to host his own show.
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 8 Liberace

Liberace.
5
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: May 16, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 4, 1987
Known as “Mr. Showmanship,” pianist, singer, and actor Liberace shot to fame with The Liberace Show, which he ended regularly with his theme song I'll Be Seeing You. The highest-paid entertainer from the 1950s-1970s, he performed in concerts and tours frequently. He also released several autobiographies and cookbooks.

 9 Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wichita

Joe Walsh is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer. Over the years Walsh has contributed to the success of popular rock bands such as Eagles and James Gang. In 1998, he was made an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 54th on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.

 10 Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Pianist, Writer, Songwriter, Jazz musician
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manhattan

 11 Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer
Birthdate: May 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mercer

Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and composer. Reznor is credited with founding the popular band Nine Inch Nails, where he serves as the principal songwriter, lead vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. Trent Reznor is also credited with mentoring Marilyn Manson and has contributed to the latter's albums. . 

 12 Alicia Witt

Alicia Witt
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 13 Nick Cave

Nick Cave.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 22, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Warracknabeal
Nick Cave is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. The ARIA Hall of Fame inductee is known for the intense themes of his songs, such as death. He has also written several books, including novels and anthologies of his poetry. 

 14 Roger Waters

Roger Waters
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Famous As: Composer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Screenwriter, Singer, Pianist, Record producer
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Surrey

Co-founder of the rock band, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is celebrated singer, songwriter and composer. Beginning his career with rhythm guitar, he initially served solely as a bassist in Pink Floyd before emerging as their lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader. Later he left the group due to creative difference and embarked on his solo career, releasing numerous albums and singles

 15 Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 4, 1982

Glenn Gould was a Canadian classical pianist, counted among the most celebrated pianists of the 20th century. He was also an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was known for his remarkable technical proficiency and unorthodox musical interpretations. He was a writer and composer as well. The Glenn Gould Foundation was established in his honor.   

 16 Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein.
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Famous As: Conductor, Composer
Birthdate: August 25, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 14, 1990

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.

 17 Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Actor, Composer, Film producer, Musician, Record producer, Pianist, Television actor
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn

 18 Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Serj Tankian is an Armenian-American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Tankian is credited with co-founding the popular band System of a Down. Renowned for his wide vocal range and unusual delivery, Serj Tankian is widely considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time. Also a political activist, Tankian co-founded Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization.

 19 Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach.
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Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City
Legendary musician and songwriter Burt Bacharach teamed up with lyricist Hal David and created many popular songs from the 1950s to the 1980s, including countless Billboard charters. He has won six Grammys and three Academy Awards for his tracks, and most of his songs were sung by Dionne Warwick. 

 20 George Gershwin

George Gershwin.
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 11, 1937

George Gershwin was an American pianist, composer, and painter. His work Porgy and Bess is widely regarded as an American cultural classic and one of the 20th century's most important American operas. Many of his compositions have been used in films and television series. His life and work inspired the 1945 biographical movie, Rhapsody in Blue.

 21 Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Plainview, Texas, United States
Died: June 13, 2010
Jimmy Dean was an American television host, country music singer, businessman, and actor. He is credited with creating and popularizing a food company named Jimmy Dean Foods. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, although he was still alive when he was nominated for the honor in 2010.

 22 Paul Reiser

Paul Reiser
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: March 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 23 Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Oboist, Banjoist, Record producer, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit

 24 Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten.
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Famous As: Composer, conductor and pianist
Birthdate: November 22, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lowestoft
Died: December 4, 1976

 25 Richard Wright (Musician)

Richard Wright (Musician).
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hatch End, Middlesex, England
Died: September 15, 2008

Richard Wright was an English musician. He is credited with co-founding the popular band ,Pink Floyd, for which he also served as a vocalist and keyboardist. Wright contributed immensely to the success of Pink Floyd and his distinctive keyboard playing was a key component of the music produced by the band.

 26 Oksana Grigorieva

Oksana Grigorieva.
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: February 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saransk
Russian singer and pianist Oksana Grigorieva patented a method of teaching music to children in the U.S. She is best known for her track Un día llegará. She has been in the news for her bitter break-up with former partner Mel Gibson. She has worked with the Chernobyl Children's Project.

 27 Yanni

Yanni.
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Famous As: Pianist, Keyboardist, Music Composer
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kalamata

Yanni is a Greek keyboardist, pianist, composer, and music producer. He achieved international recognition by organizing and producing concerts at historic monuments, such as Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Adhering to his one world, one people philosophy, Yanni works with musicians of various nationalities to create music that incorporates an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.

 28 Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Canadian singer Sarah Ann McLachlan is best known for her signature ballads and her bestselling album Surfacing. The three-time Grammy-winning and nine-time Juno-winning artist has also launched a free music school for disadvantaged youth and works against animal cruelty. She also launched the Lilith Fair, to promote female music artists.

 29 Dmitry Shostakovich

Dmitry Shostakovich.
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: August 9, 1975

Dmitry Shostakovich was a Soviet and Russian pianist and composer. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's major composers, Shostakovich's music is characterized by ambivalent tonality, elements of the grotesque, and sharp contrasts. He composed 15 symphonies during his lifetime and most of his work came under Joseph Stalin.

 30 Leon Russell

Leon Russell
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Pianist, Guitarist
Birthdate: April 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lawton
Died: November 13, 2016

 31 Tori Amos

Tori Amos.
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Famous As: Musician and Singer
Birthdate: August 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newton
Alternative rock singer Tori Amos is known for her songs that highlight issues such as feminism. Amos was the youngest to win a music scholarship to the Peabody Institute. She performed with the group Y Kant Tori Read before going solo. She is associated with RAINN, a sexual abuse helpline. 

 32 Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon.
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Famous As: Rock Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: September 7, 2003

Warren Zevon was an American musician, rock singer, and songwriter. As a songwriter, Zevon contributed immensely to the success of songs recorded by other artists, such as Murray McLauchlan. Also known for his acerbic lyrics and dry wit, Warren Zevon made several appearances on shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with David Letterman.

 33 Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons
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Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida, United States
Died: September 19, 1973

 34 Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis.
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Famous As: Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Producer, Actor
Birthdate: January 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bakersfield, California
Jonathan Davis, or JDevil, is best known as the co-founder and lead singer of the band Korn, which is said to have pioneered the genre of nu metal music. The two-time Grammy-winning artist came to be known for his intense and sometimes aggressive and high-pitched vocals.

 35 Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk.
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Famous As: Jazz Pianist & Composer
Birthdate: October 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
Died: February 17, 1982

Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer who was noted for his unorthodox approach and idiosyncrasy during his performance. Mentored by Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk contributed to bebop and was associated with Columbia and Riverside labels. His run-in with the police affected his performance after his New York City Cabaret Card was confiscated following the discovery of narcotics in a car.

 36 Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago

 37 Phil Anselmo

Phil Anselmo
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Pianist
Birthdate: June 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans

 38 Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher.
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London Borough of Harrow
Tom Fletcher, lead vocalist and guitarist of the band McFly, has also written for several artists and bands, such as Busted, One Direction, and The Vamps. A successful YouTube vlogger, too, he has documented and shared all three pregnancies of his wife, Giovanna. He has also written several children’s books.

 39 Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings.
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Famous As: Singers
Birthdate: June 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Littlefield
Died: February 13, 2002
Waylon Jennings was one of the pioneers of outlaw country music. He began performing on KVOW radio, at age 12, and then performed with several bands, such as The Texas Longhorns, The Waylors, and The Highwaymen. He also contributed to Wanted! The Outlaws, the first platinum country album. 

 40 André Previn

André Previn.
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin
German-American pianist and composer André Previn was a prominent figure in jazz and classical music. He composed tracks for MGM and won four Grammys and four Academy Awards. He was the music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the main conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, among others.

 41 Diana Krall

Diana Krall.
3
Famous As: Jazz Pianist
Birthdate: November 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nanaimo, British Columbia

Diana Krall is a Canadian jazz singer and pianist. With several gold and multi-platinum albums under her belt, Krall is regarded as one of the best-selling artists of her generation. In 2009, Billboard called her the second-greatest jazz artist of the 2000–09 decade. In 2004, she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

 42 Scott Storch

Scott Storch
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Famous As: Record producer, Rapper, Singer, Pianist, Composer
Birthdate: December 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Halifax

 43 Glenn Danzig

Glenn Danzig
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Famous As: Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: June 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lodi, New Jersey

 44 Alan Menken

Alan Menken
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist, Songwriter, Film score composer
Birthdate: July 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Rochelle

 45 Dhani Harrison

Dhani Harrison
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Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Composer, Pianist, Model
Birthdate: August 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Windsor

 46 The Rev

The Rev
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Famous As: Musician, Drummer, Pianist, Songwriter, Singer
Birthdate: February 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Huntington Beach
Died: December 28, 2009

 47 Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes.
3
Famous As: Country Singer, Musician
Birthdate: September 9, 1991
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, U.S.

 48 Ludovico Einaudi

Ludovico Einaudi.
3
Famous As: Pianist, Composer
Birthdate: November 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Turin, Piedmont, Italy

Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian composer and pianist. Although he started his career as a classical musician, Einaudi began incorporating other genres like rock, folk, and pop later in his career. Apart from composing studio and live albums, Ludovico Einaudi also composes the scores for films and TV series. His work in the filn Acquario earned him the prestigious Grolla d'oro award.

 49 Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway
3
Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Conductor, Musician, Pianist, Record producer
Birthdate: October 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: January 13, 1979

 50 Steven Van Zandt

Steven Van Zandt
4
Famous As: Actor, Musician, Screenwriter, Record producer, Disc jockey, Singer, Television actor, Guitarist, Pianist, Composer
Birthdate: November 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston

Steven Van Zandt is an American singer, musician, songwriter, actor, producer, and activist. Steven is renowned for his association with E Street Band. As a member of the band, Steven was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Steven works with a nonprofit organization called Little Kids Rock.