Famous American Composers

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 1 
John Williams
(One of the Greatest Film Composers of All Time)
John Williams
20
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Floral Park, New York, United States

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.

 2 
George Gershwin
(Pianist and Composer Best Known for His Orchestral Compositions ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘An American in Paris’)
George Gershwin
5
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.

 3 
Leonard Bernstein
(Composer Whose Best-Known Work is the Broadway Musical 'West Side Story')
Leonard Bernstein
7
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.

 4 
Miles Davis
(Trumpeter and one of the Most Prominent Figures in the History of Jazz)
Miles Davis
6
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 
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 5 
Quincy Jones
(Musician and Second Most Oscar-Nominated African American)
Quincy Jones
10
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Regarded as one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the previous century, Quincy Jones is known for his work with other legendary artists like Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. As the first African-American to find success at the Academy Awards ceremony, Quincy has influenced a host of black musicians and songwriters.

 6 
John Coltrane
(One of the Most Influential Saxophonists in Music History)
John Coltrane
5
Birthdate: September 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: HaHamlet, North Carolina, United States
Died: July 17, 1967
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is remembered for his significant influence on modern jazz. He was initially part of the Navy band and eventually collaborated with musicians such as Miles Davis. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was canonized by the African Orthodox Church.
 7 
Duke Ellington
(One of the Greatest Jazz Composers & Bandleader)
Duke Ellington
6
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: May 24, 1974
Jazz legend Duke Ellington managed his orchestra till his death, and over a 6-decade-long career. He is known for his collaborations with legends such as pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. He termed his music “American music” and refused to attach any category to it. He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.
 8 
Burt Bacharach
(One of the Most Influential Composers of Pop Music in the 20th Century)
Burt Bacharach
6
Birthdate: May 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: February 8, 2023
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. 
 9 
Ronnie Van Zant
(Singer, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Composer, Guitarist)
Ronnie Van Zant
6
Birthdate: January 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jacksonville
Died: October 20, 1977
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 10 
David Lee Roth
(Singer, Musician)
David Lee Roth
7
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bloomington, Indiana, United States

David Lee Roth is an American rock singer, songwriter, musician, and former radio personality. Renowned for his energetic stage persona, Roth was a long-time member of the popular hard rock band Van Halen where he served as the lead singer. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 11 
Charlie Parker
(Jazz Saxophonist & Developer of the 'Bebop' Style of Jazz)
Charlie Parker
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Died: March 12, 1955

Charlie Parker was an American composer and jazz saxophonist. A highly influential soloist, Parker played a significant role in the development of a form of jazz called bebop. He is also credited with introducing harmonic ideas into jazz, such as chord substitutions and rapid passing chords. His contribution to jazz and bebop made him an icon of the hipster subculture.

 12 
Sean Lennon
(Musician, Songwriter & Multi-Instrumentalist)
Sean Lennon
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

The son of John Lennon, Sean Lennon followed in his father's footsteps to become a musician, songwriter, and producer. A practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, Lennon played in Live on Earth to help raise funds for the David Lynch Foundation, a global charitable foundation which funds the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in schools.

 13 
James Horner
(Composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores)
James Horner
7
Birthdate: August 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 22, 2015
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 14 
Tom Waits
(Musician, Composer, & Songwriter)
Tom Waits
7
Birthdate: December 7, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pomona, California, United States

Tom Waits is a musician and songwriter. His lyrics, which are delivered in his trademark gravelly voice, often focus on the underbelly of society. His story of being born in a middle-class family to becoming one of the greatest songwriters of all time serves as an inspiration to many. He has also influenced several musicians and attained a cult following.

 15 
Chaka Khan
(Singer)
Chaka Khan
7
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.
 16 
Dimebag Darrell
(Guitarist, Composer, Musician)
Dimebag Darrell
8
Birthdate: August 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dallas
Died: December 8, 2004
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 17 
Glenn Miller
(Trombonist)
Glenn Miller
5
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944
 18 
Rick Rubin
(Record Producer)
Rick Rubin
8
Birthdate: March 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lido Beach

A record producer, Rick Rubin is the former co-president of Columbia Records and a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. By promoting the musical groups  Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy, he helped popularize hip hop music. He has been named on Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

 19 
Carl Wilson
(American musician)
Carl Wilson
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hawthorne, California
Died: February 6, 1998
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 20 
John Cage
(Composer, Writer)
John Cage
8
Birthdate: September 5, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: August 12, 1992
John Cage was one of the most influential avant-garde composers of the post-World War II era. He pioneered many innovative techniques in music, such as the prepared piano and electroacoustic music. His composition 4′33″ involved musicians sitting silently, without playing any instrument, while the audience heard environmental sounds. 
 21 
Sammy Hagar
(Singer-Songwriter,)
Sammy Hagar
8
Birthdate: October 13, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salinas, California, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 22 
Arnold Schoenberg
(One of the Most Influential Composers of the 20th Century)
Arnold Schoenberg
7
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.
 23 
Nile Rodgers
(Guitarist, Composer, Songwriter, Record producer, Film score composer)
Nile Rodgers
7
Birthdate: September 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City
 24 
Krist Novoselic
(Musician)
Krist Novoselic
5
Birthdate: May 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
 25 
Josh Kelley
(Famous for His Pop-Rock Hit Singles “Amazing” and “Only You”)
Josh Kelley
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 26 
Tori Amos
(Musician and Singer)
Tori Amos
5
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. 
 27 
Dan Fogelberg
(Musician)
Dan Fogelberg
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Died: December 16, 2007
 28 
Kenny G
(Smooth Jazz Saxophonist and One of the Best-Selling Musicians of All Time)
Kenny G
6
Birthdate: June 5, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G, is a best-selling jazz saxophonist who has sold over 75 million records and even owns a line of saxophones. He is also a certified pilot and a skilled golfer who has participated in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am seven times.

 29 
Buddy Rich
(Musician)
Buddy Rich
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died: April 2, 1987
 30 
André Previn
(Known for His Versatile Orchestral Compositions)
André Previn
5
Birthdate: April 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 28, 2019
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.
 31 
Chick Corea
(Jazz musician, Composer)
Chick Corea
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 9, 2021
 32 
Vinnie Paul
(Former Musician best known for being the drummer and co-founder of the heavy metal band Pantera)
Vinnie Paul
5
Birthdate: March 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Abilene, Texas, United States
Died: June 22, 2018
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 33 
Jaco Pastorius
(Musician)
Jaco Pastorius
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 21, 1987
 34 
Rivers Cuomo
(Musician, Singer)
Rivers Cuomo
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 35 
Gil Scott-Heron
(Poet and Singer-songwriter)
Gil Scott-Heron
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 27, 2011
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 36 
Warren G
(Rapper, Record producer, Singer, Composer)
Warren G
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 37 
Irving Berlin
(American Composer and Lyricist)
Irving Berlin
6
Birthdate: May 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tyumen, Russian Empire
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. 

 38 
Mike Portnoy
(Drummer, Musician, Singer, Record producer, Composer)
Mike Portnoy
4
Birthdate: April 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Long Beach
 39 
Joe Bonamassa
(Guitarist, Banjoist, Musician, Songwriter, Composer)
Joe Bonamassa
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Hartford
 40 
Dizzy Gillespie
(One of the Greatest Jazz Trumpeters of All Time)
Dizzy Gillespie
4
Birthdate: October 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States
Died: January 6, 1993

Jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and singer Dizzy Gillespie developed the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge, modifying it with innovative harmony and rhythm. He popularized the bebop style of music and was famous for his signature horn-rimmed spectacles. His contribution to modern jazz earned him the title of the Ambassador of Jazz.

 41 
Michael Giacchino
(Composer)
Michael Giacchino
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Riverside, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 42 
Scott Joplin
(American Composer and Pianist Known as the ‘King of Ragtime’)
Scott Joplin
5
Birthdate: November 24, 1868
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texarkana, 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.
 43 
Alan Menken
(Composer best known for his scores and songs for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Alan Menken
4
Birthdate: July 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 44 
Buck Owens
(Musician)
Buck Owens
4
Birthdate: August 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sherman, Texas, United States
Died: March 25, 2006
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 45 
Myles Kennedy
(Guitarist, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Composer)
Myles Kennedy
4
Birthdate: November 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 46 
Walter Becker
(American Musician, Songwriter and Record Producer)
Walter Becker
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: July 3, 2017
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 47 
DJ Jazzy Jeff
(Club DJ, Disc jockey, Actor, Television actor, Record producer, Composer)
DJ Jazzy Jeff
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 48 
Adam Schlesinger
(Musician)
Adam Schlesinger
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: April 1, 2020
 49 
Joseph Simmons
(Rapper, Singer, Record producer, Composer)
Joseph Simmons
4
Birthdate: November 14, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 50 
Jerry Cantrell
(Known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist, and main songwriter of rock band Alice in Chains)
Jerry Cantrell
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)