Famous American Conductors

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

Vote for Your Favourite American Conductors

 1 
Leonard Bernstein
(Composer Whose Best-Known Work is the Broadway Musical 'West Side Story')

Leonard Bernstein
6
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.

 2 
John Williams
(One of the Greatest Film Composers of All Time)

John Williams
6
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.

 3 
Harry Connick Jr.
(American singer)

Harry Connick Jr.
4
Birthdate: September 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Grammy-winning singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. was born to a lawyer mother and an attorney father, who also owned a record store. He mastered the piano as a child and formed his first jazz band at 10. He later soared to fame with the multi-platinum soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally...

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 4 
James Horner
(Composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores)

James Horner
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 22, 2015

 5 

David Ogden Stiers
6
Birthdate: October 31, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Died: March 3, 2018

 6 
André Previn
(Known for His Versatile Orchestral Compositions)

André Previn
4
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.

 7 
Henry Mancini
(Composer Best Known for His Soudtrack for the 'Peter Gunn' TV Series & 'The Pink Panther' Film Series)

Henry Mancini
4
Birthdate: April 16, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Little Italy, Ohio, United States
Died: June 14, 1994
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 8 
John Philip Sousa
(Conductor, Composer)

John Philip Sousa
4
Birthdate: November 6, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: March 6, 1932

 9 
Marvin Hamlisch
(Composer, Conductor)

Marvin Hamlisch
4
Birthdate: June 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: August 6, 2012

 10 
Alan Silvestri
(Composer and conductor of film and television scores)

Alan Silvestri
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 11 
Tommy Dorsey
(Trombonist)

Tommy Dorsey
4
Birthdate: November 19, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: November 26, 1956

 12 
Yehudi Menuhin
(Volinist)

Yehudi Menuhin
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 12, 1999

Grammy Award-winning legendary 20th-century violinist Yehudi Menuhin was born to Lithuanian Jews in the US. Starting his training in the violin at age 4, he later studied music in Paris. He also experimented with fusion, collaborating with jazz and Indian classical musicians. He later launched the Yehudi Menuhin School.

 13 
Joshua Bell
(Violinist)

Joshua Bell
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bloomington, Indiana, USA

 14 
Art Blakey
(Drummer)

Art Blakey
4
Birthdate: October 11, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: October 16, 1990

 15 
Bill Conti
(Composer)

Bill Conti
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States

 16 
Alfred Newman
(Composer)

Alfred Newman
3
Birthdate: March 17, 1900
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: February 17, 1970

 17 
Brian Tyler
(Composer)

Brian Tyler
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orange County, California, United States

 18 
Marin Alsop
(Conductor)

Marin Alsop
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 19 
Isaac Stern
(American violinist)

Isaac Stern
3
Birthdate: July 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Krzemieniec, Ukraine
Died: September 22, 2001

 20 
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
(Composer, Conductor)

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
3
Birthdate: May 29, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brünn, Moravia, Austria
Died: November 29, 1957

 21 
Jerry Goldsmith
(Prolific composer and conductor who received an Oscar for his work on The Omen in 1976.)

Jerry Goldsmith
4
Birthdate: February 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 21, 2004

 22 
Mitch Miller
(Musician)

Mitch Miller
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: July 31, 2010

 23 
Lorin Maazel
(Conductor)

Lorin Maazel
3
Birthdate: March 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: July 13, 2014

 24 

Michael Tilson Thomas
3
Birthdate: December 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

 25 

Terence Blanchard
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

 26 
William Grant Still
(Composer who became the first black man to conduct a major orchestra)

William Grant Still
3
Birthdate: May 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Woodville, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 3, 1978

 27 
Zubin Mehta
(Philharmonic Orchestra's Music Director for Life)

Zubin Mehta
5
Birthdate: April 29, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

 28 
Lalo Schifrin
(Pianist, Composer, Arranger & Conductor)

Lalo Schifrin
4
Birthdate: June 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine-American composer, pianist, conductor, and arranger. A multiple time Academy Award nominee and five-time Grammy Award winner, Schifrin is renowned for his TV and film scores since the 1950s. Best known for his compositions like the Mission: Impossible theme and collaborations with stars like Clint Eastwood, Lalo Schifrin was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2019. 

 29 
John Adams
(Composer and conductor whose music is rooted in minimalism)

John Adams
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

 30 
Miklós Rózsa
(Composer)

Miklós Rózsa
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1907
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: July 27, 1995

Born in Hungary, Miklós Rózsa was a music prodigy and learned to play the violin at age 5. After studying music in Germany, he pursued his music career in France, the UK, and the US. He is remembered for his Academy Award-winning scores in movies such as Ben-Hur and Spellbound.

 31 
Itzhak Perlman
(Israeli-American Violinist, Conductor, and Music Teacher)

Itzhak Perlman
0
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
A bout of polio at age 4 left Itzhak Perlman’s legs paralyzed but could not deter his spirit. The Juilliard alumnus has won 16 Grammys and the coveted Leventritt Prize for his phenomenal compositions. He has also served as a conductor for Detroit Symphony and orchestras. 

 32 

Rudy Vallee
3
Birthdate: July 28, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Island Pond, Vermont, United States
Died: July 3, 1986
Rudy Vallée was an American musician, singer, radio host, and actor. Having gained popularity at a young age, Vallée was widely regarded as one of the first pop stars to achieve the status of a teen idol. His contribution to radio was honored in 2011 when he was made an inductee of the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

 33 
Victor Borge
(Pianist and Comedian Known for His Popular Radio and TV Performances in Europe and the US)

Victor Borge
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1909
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: December 23, 2000

Victor Borge was a Danish-American pianist, conductor, and comedian. He is best remembered for blending comedy and music for which he achieved popularity across Europe and the United States. Recipient of several prestigious awards, Borge received badges of chivalric orders from countries like Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. In 1999, he received the Kennedy Center Honors.

 34 
Angela Morley
(Composer)

Angela Morley
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: January 14, 2009

 35 
Arthur Fiedler
(Conductor)

Arthur Fiedler
3
Birthdate: December 17, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: July 10, 1979

 36 
Pierre Monteux
(Conductor)

Pierre Monteux
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 1, 1964

 37 

James Reese Europe
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: May 9, 1919

 38 
George Szell
(Conductor)

George Szell
3
Birthdate: June 7, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: July 30, 1970

Considered one of the best conductors of the 20th century, Hungarian-born George Szell is best remembered for his stint as the director of the Cleveland Orchestra in the US. Starting as a pianist, he had started touring at age 11. He began conducting at age 16, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

 39 
Antonia Brico
(Musician)

Antonia Brico
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: August 3, 1989

Born to an unwed mother in the Netherlands, Antonia Brico later moved to the US with her foster parents. She was the first American to graduate from the master class of conducting at the Berlin State Academy of Music. She was also the first woman to gain respect as a symphony orchestra conductor.

 40 

Skitch Henderson
3
Birthdate: January 27, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halstad, Minnesota, United States
Died: November 1, 2005

 41 
Eugene Ormandy
(Former Conductor best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director)

Eugene Ormandy
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: March 12, 1985

Born in Hungary, Eugene Ormandy was inspired by his amateur violinist father to take up violin lessons as a child. By age 17, he was himself a professor of violin. After moving to the US, he would initially compose for silent films. He later received 2 Grammy Awards and was also knighted.

 42 
Victor Herbert
(Composer)

Victor Herbert
3
Birthdate: February 1, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 26, 1924

 43 

Murray Perahia
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

 44 
Leon Fleisher
(Pianist)

Leon Fleisher
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: August 2, 2020

 45 
Alan Gilbert
(Conductor)

Alan Gilbert
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York

 46 

Nicolas Slonimsky
3
Birthdate: April 27, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 25, 1995

 47 

Sir Charles Mackerras
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Schenectady, New York, United States
Died: July 14, 2010

 48 
Don Ellis
(Jazz musician)

Don Ellis
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: December 17, 1978

 49 
Robert Shaw
(Conductor)

Robert Shaw
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Red Bluff, California, United States
Died: January 25, 1999

 50 
Stephen Kovacevich
(Pianist, Conductor)

Stephen Kovacevich
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Pedro, California, United States