Famous Austrian Musicians

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Think Vienna, the music capital of the world, is all about pop, rock, blues & jazz? Not quite so. Before every musical tradition found its stage in Vienna, it used to be the sanctum sanctorum of legendary musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Straus Sr. and Jr., Brahms and other classical musical marvels who gave the city its own musical identity. It was in the lilting land of Austria that the symphonic sounds of Mozart and Beethoven soared new scales. Modern day Vienna is torn between old and new sounds now with contemporary musical forms dominating the new-age music scene. But amid the pop, jazz and rock craze, one can still listen to the dulcet notes of violins, pianos and cellos reverberating in the hearts of every music lover. Such was the greatness of these Austrian musicians. These musical maestros have put Austria on the map over the years and delivered some best melodies the world has ever known. We have captured the timelines, life stories and interesting trivia & facts of some famous Austrian musicians in their biographies who wowed the world with their sheer musical ingenuity.
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 1 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(One of the Greatest Composers in the History of Western Music)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
47
Birthdate: January 27, 1756
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: December 5, 1791

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.

 2 
Franz Peter Schubert
(Austrian Composer and One of the Greatest Piano Virtuosos of the Late Classical and Early Romantic Era)
Franz Peter Schubert
7
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.

 3 
Joseph Haydn
(Composer of the Classical Period Known As 'Father of the Symphony' & 'Father of the String Quartet')
Joseph Haydn
9
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.

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 4 
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).

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 5 
Maria von Trapp
(Stepmother and Matriarch of the 'Trapp Family Singers')
Maria von Trapp
5
Birthdate: January 26, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 28, 1987

Maria von Trapp was the matriarch of the Austrian singing family, Trapp Family Singers. As a young woman, she married widowed naval commander Georg von Trapp. He already had seven children from his first wife, and the couple had three more. The family began singing together at events and became a popular touring act called the Trapp Family Singers. 

 6 
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.
 7 
Falco
(Austrian Singer and Musician)
Falco
4
Birthdate: February 19, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 6, 1998

The man behind iconic tracks such as Der Kommisar and Rock Me Amadeus, legendary Austrian singer Johann "Hans" Hölzel, better known as Falco, was one of the best-selling singers from his country. Unfortunately, his career was short-lived, as he died in a car accident shortly before his 41st birthday.

 8 
Herbert von Karajan
(Austrian Conductor and Former Principal Conductor of the 'Berlin Philharmonic')
Herbert von Karajan
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: July 16, 1989

The principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for over 3 decades, Herbert von Karajan was a piano prodigy in childhood. Though a Nazi Party member, he later claimed he had not been too keen on joining the party. The three-time Grammy winner was also an avid sports lover.

 9 
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.

 10 
Alban Berg
(One of the Most Important Composers of the 20th Century)
Alban Berg
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 24, 1935
Nineteenth-century Austrian composer Alban Berg hadn’t had any formal training in music when he began composing. Owing to his poor financial condition, Arnold Schoenberg taught him music for free. He is best remembered for his twelve-tone technique. He tragically died of blood poisoning caused by an insect bite.
 11 
Gyorgy Ligeti
(One of the Most Important Avant-Garde Composers of the 20th Century)
Gyorgy Ligeti
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Târnăveni, Romania
Died: June 11, 2006

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.

 12 
Anton Webern
(Austrian Composer Best Known for Extending the '12-Tone Technique' Method of Musical Composition)
Anton Webern
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1883
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 15, 1945

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. 

 13 
Conchita Wurst
(Singer, Model)
Conchita Wurst
5
Birthdate: November 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gmunden

Born Thomas Neuwirth, Austrian singer, recording artist, and drag queen faced discrimination as a child because of his sexual orientation.  Around the age of nineteen, he embarked on his singing career, shortly developing the drag persona of a bearded woman called Conchita Wurst, gaining international attention when he won Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with his song Rise Like a Phoenix.

 14 
Andras Schiff
(Pianist)
Andras Schiff
2
Birthdate: December 21, 1953
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

Born to Holocaust survivors, Hungarian-born pianist Andras Schiff began learning the piano at age 5. He is now best known for his interpretations of legends such as of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. His numerous awards include a Grammy. He was also knighted for his achievements.

 15 
Anton Bruckner
(Austrian Composer and Organist Best Known for His Symphonies: 'Masses', 'Te Deum' and 'Motets')
Anton Bruckner
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1824
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ansfelden, Austria
Died: October 11, 1896

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.

 16 
Maria Anna Mozart
3
Birthdate: July 30, 1751
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: October 29, 1829
 17 
Parov Stelar
(Austrian Musician & Record Producer Known for His Pioneering Work in the Electronic Swing Music Genre)
Parov Stelar
6
Birthdate: November 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Linz, Austria

Austrian electronic music artist and DJ Marcus Füreder, better known as Parov Stelar, has also created music under aliases such as Plasma and Cash Candy. His works include hit collaborations with artists such as Lady Gaga and Lana Del Ray. He also co-established the designer label Stelarbloom with his wife.

 18 
Alfred Brendel
(Pianist, Composer)
Alfred Brendel
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Loučná nad Desnou
 19 
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
(Austrian Conductor and A Pioneer of the Early Music Movement)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 5, 2016

Nikolaus Harnoncourt began his musical career as a classical cellist and grew up to be one of the finest conductors of Austria. He ruled the music scene with the ensemble Concentus Musicus, focusing on historical performance, and later also worked with modern ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

 20 
Alma Mahler
(Austrian Composer & Socialite)
Alma Mahler
2
Birthdate: August 31, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 11, 1964

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.

 21 
Max Steiner
(Conductor, Composer, Musician, Screenwriter, Film score composer)
Max Steiner
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: December 28, 1971
 22 
Joe Zawinul
(Austrian Jazz and Electric Keyboardist & Co-Founder of 'Weather Report' and 'The Zawinul Syndicate')
Joe Zawinul
3
Birthdate: July 7, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 11, 2007

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.

 23 
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
(Pianist, Composer, Conductor, and the Youngest Son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
2
Birthdate: July 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 29, 1844

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.

 24 
Artur Schnabel
(Composer and pedagogue known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician)
Artur Schnabel
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lipnik, Poland
Died: August 15, 1951
 25 
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
(Composer, Conductor)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
2
Birthdate: May 29, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brünn, Moravia, Austria
Died: November 29, 1957
 26 
Carl Czerny
(Austrian Pianist and Composer Known for His Pedagogical Works for the Piano)
Carl Czerny
2
Birthdate: February 21, 1791
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 15, 1857

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.  

 27 
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
(Composer and virtuoso pianist)
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1778
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bratislava, Slovakia
Died: October 17, 1837
 28 
August Kubizek
(Conductor best known for being a close friend of Adolf Hitler, when both were in their late teens)
August Kubizek
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Linz, Austria
Died: October 23, 1956

Austrian musical conductor August Kubizek is best-remembered for his close friendship with Adolf Hitler during their late-teens. They reunited after thirty years following which the Nazi Party hired Kubizek to write about his youth with Hitler in two short propaganda booklets called Reminiscences. Kubizek also wrote about his childhood experience with Hitler in the book The Young Hitler I Knew.

 29 
Franz Lehár
(Austro-Hungarian Composer Known for His Operettas)
Franz Lehár
2
Birthdate: April 30, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Komárom, Hungary
Died: October 24, 1948

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.

 30 
Thomas Lang
(Drummer and founding member of the avant garde metal group stOrk)
Thomas Lang
2
Birthdate: August 5, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
 31 
Hugo Wolf
(Austrian Composer Known for His Art Songs)
Hugo Wolf
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia
Died: February 22, 1903

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.

 32 
Rose May Alaba
(Austrian Singer, Recording Artist, and Songwriter)
Rose May Alaba
2
Birthdate: May 26, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
 33 
Frederick Loewe
(Composer)
Frederick Loewe
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 14, 1988
 34 
Cesár Sampson
(Austrian Model, Dancer, Singer, Songwriter, and Producer)
Cesár Sampson
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Linz, Austria
 35 
Max Brod
(Former prolific writer best remembered as the friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka)
Max Brod
2
Birthdate: May 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
Died: December 20, 1968

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. 

 36 
Michael Haydn
(Composer of the Classical period, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn)
Michael Haydn
3
Birthdate: September 14, 1737
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rohrau, Austria
Died: August 10, 1806
 37 
Udo Jürgens
(One of the Best-Selling Austrian Composers and Winner of Eurovision Song Contest 1966 )
Udo Jürgens
2
Birthdate: September 30, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: December 21, 2014

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.

 38 
Johann Joseph Fux
2
Birthdate: 1660 AD
Birthplace: Langegg bei Graz, Austria
Died: February 13, 1741
 39 
DJ Otzi
(Austrian Singer)
DJ Otzi
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: St. Johann in Tirol, Austria
 40 
Franz von Suppé
(Austrian Composer of Light Operas)
Franz von Suppé
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1819
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Split, Croatia
Died: May 21, 1895

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.

 41 
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
(One of the Best Violin Composers of the 17th Century)
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
2
Birthdate: August 12, 1644
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stráž pod Ralskem, Czechia
Died: May 3, 1704

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.

 42 
Patrizio Buanne
(Italian-Austrian Singer, Producer, and Songwriter)
Patrizio Buanne
2
Birthdate: September 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
 43 
Peter Wolf
(Composer)
Peter Wolf
2
Birthdate: August 25, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
 44 
Hanns Eisler
(Composer)
Hanns Eisler
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: September 6, 1962
 45 
Lisa Wagner
(Austrian Singer and Songwriter)
Lisa Wagner
2
Birthdate: June 16, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Austria
 46 
Mona Wagner
(Austrian Singer and Songwriter)
Mona Wagner
2
Birthdate: June 16, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Austria
 47 
Friedrich Gulda
(Austrian Composer and Pianist)
Friedrich Gulda
2
Birthdate: May 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: January 27, 2000
 48 
Franz Xaver Gruber
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hochburg-Ach, Austria
Died: June 7, 1863
 49 
Soap&Skin
(Musical Artist)
Soap&Skin
2
Birthdate: April 5, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gnas, Austria

Austrian alternative singer Anja Plaschg, better known as Soap&Skin, played the violin and the piano as a teen. She later dropped out of her graphic designing and art courses, to focus on music. Apart from releasing a chartbusting debut album at 18, she has also worked as an actor.

 50 
Alexander von Zemlinsky
2
Birthdate: October 14, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 15, 1942