A child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is regarded as one of the greatest classical composers ever. A prolific composer, he had a profound influence on Western music. Many of his works are considered pinnacles of choral, symphonic, operatic, chamber, and concertante music. Before his death, at the age of 35, he had composed over 600 works.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Being a descendant of violinist Leopold Auer, Hungarian-Austrian composer Gyorgy Ligeti was no stranger to music in childhood. He lost his entire family, except his mother, to the Holocaust, but that didn’t prevent him from studying music later. He rose to be a legend of avant-garde music.
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a core member in the circle of the Second Viennese School and an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique. He focused on lyricism, nuance, and sensitivity in the performance of music and was considered radical for his era. He received posthumous attention in the latter half of the 20th century.
Austrian composer Anton Bruckner was born to a schoolmaster father who was also an organist. Bruckner learned to play the violin by 4. In spite of being a musical legend, he often criticized his own work and re-worked on his pieces, leading to many versions of the same piece.
Alma Mahler, remembered as the wife of composer Gustav Mahler and the daughter of landscape painter Emil Schindler, initially studied art but later acquired skills as a pianist. However, Mahler discouraged her from composing after marriage. She later had other affairs and married architect Walter Gropius and author Franz Werfel.
Pathbreaking Austrian jazz musician Joe Zawinul co-founded the jazz fusion bands Weather Report and The Zawinul Syndicate. He was also a pioneering contributor to world music. Starting his training in music with the accordion, he later popularized the synthesizer and the electric piano. He lost his battle with cancer at age 75.
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was the youngest son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Constanze. He followed in the footsteps of his father and went on to become a pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher. However, unlike his father, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was introverted and often underrated his talent. He also had a constant fear of being compared to his father.
Carl Czerny was an Austrian composer, pianist, and teacher of Czech origin. Born into a musical family, he started playing the piano as a toddler and began composing at the age of seven. He was prolific in his music production and composed over a thousand works, with his music spanning the late Classical and early Romantic eras.
Hungarian composer Franz Lehár is best remembered for his operettas and became a worldwide sensation with The Merry Widow, which was later filmed, too. His distinctive style of Viennese operetta consisted of satire and Parisian dances. Though he had a Jewish-turned-Catholic wife, Hitler loved his music.
Hugo Wolf was an Austrian composer best remembered for his art songs. Although he produced extraordinary musical pieces, his work was constantly affected by depression before he suffered a mental collapse in the late-1890s. Hugo Wolf is credited with producing some of the best-known lieders, a type of German song.
Max Brod was a Czech German-speaking Jewish author, composer, and journalist. He studied law at the German Charles-Ferdinand University and proceeded to pursue a career as a journalist and composer. He worked as an editor and literary adviser for the Israeli national theatre for three decades. He was a close friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka.
Udo Jürgens first gained international acclaim after winning the 1966 Eurovision contest. While the Austrian singer began his career playing at clubs and on radio, he later revolutionized the German pop scene with songs such as Mit 66 Jahren. Buenos Días, Argentina remains one of his best-known songs.
Austrian composer Franz von Suppé was a major figure of the 19th-century light music in both Austria and Germany. He mostly performed at Viennese theaters such as Theater an der Wien. Some of his best-known works are Leichte Kavallerie, or Light Cavalry, and Dichter und Bauer, or Poet and Peasant.
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber was a Bohemian-Austrian violinist and composer. He is widely regarded as one of the best violin composers of the 17th century. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber wrote operas, music for chamber ensemble, and sacred music. Today, his compositions are widely performed and recorded.
Hailed for his contribution to the experimental and multimedia modes, Hermann Nitsch is known to interpret life as a passion and the process of painting, its incarnation. Beginning his career as a graphic designer, he later combined Expressionism with religious arts and began working on the idea of the Orgien Mysterien Theater, eventually establishing himself as an internationally acclaimed artist.
Austrian composer Franz Schmidt was first trained in the piano by his mother. He later began his music career as a cellist at the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra. Best remembered for his oratorio The Book with Seven Seals, he taught and later became the director and then the rector at the Vienna Conservatory.
Known as the "one-eyed singer" because of his dropping right eye caused due to an injury, Oswald von Wolkenstein was one of the last troubadours. Known for his autobiographical lyrics, he was named Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. He had also been a diplomat and military commander to Emperor Sigismund.