Famous Canadian Composers

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 Canadian Composers

 1 
Alanis Morisette
(Singer-Songwriter)

Alanis Morisette
7
Birthdate: June 1, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Alanis Morisette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter and actress. Renowned for her mezzo-soprano voice, Morisette has been named by Rolling Stone as the Queen of Alt-Rock Angst. A recipient of 13 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, Morisette has released several successful albums, including Jagged Little Pill, which was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

 2 
Paul Shaffer
(Known for Being David Letterman’s Musical Director, Bandleader, and Sidekick for Over 30 Years)

Paul Shaffer
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Thunder Bay, Canada

Best known as the band leader in Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer. He co-wrote the 1980s’ hit It's Raining Men sung by the Weather Girls and later revived by Geri Halliwell.

 3 
Howard Shore
(Composer, Conductor, Film score composer)

Howard Shore
4
Birthdate: October 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto

Best known to international audiences for his scores of the hit trilogies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Canadian composer Howard Shore had begun playing music at age 8 and was part of bands by age 13. He has 3 Academy Awards and 4 Grammy Awards in his kitty.

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 4 
Buffy Sainte-Marie
(Actor, Singer-songwriter, Visual artist, Record producer, Composer)

Buffy Sainte-Marie
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Piapot, Canada

Known for her music that showcases the issues of Native Americans, Canadian-American singer Buffy Sainte-Marie became the first person from any indigenous community to win an Oscar, with the song Up Where We Belong. She had also been blacklisted by many radio stations earlier due to her activism.

 5 
Win Butler
(Songwriter, Singer, Composer, Poet, Guitarist)

Win Butler
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Truckee, California, United States

Win Butler is an American-Canadian multi-instrumentalist, musician, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular Canadian indie rock band, Arcade Fire. Also a humanitarian, Butler contributed to a charity record named Do They Know It's Hallowe'en as part of a UNICEF benefit project. A multi-talented personality, Win Butler often participates in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

 6 
Rufus Wainwright
(Opera Singer & Son of Musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle)

Rufus Wainwright
4
Birthdate: July 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck, New York, United States

Rufus Wainwright is an American-Canadian composer, singer, and songwriter. In 1998, Wainwright was recognized as the Best New Artist by Rolling Stone magazine. Over the years, he has received several awards like Juno Awards and GLAAD Media Awards. He has also received nominations for prestigious awards like the Grammys and BRIT Awards.

 7 
David Foster
(Musician who Chaired 'Verve Records' (2012 to 2016))

David Foster
0
Birthdate: November 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Victoria, Canada

Canadian musician, composer, and arranger David Foster is a prominent figure in the international music scene and has worked with the likes of  Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna. The winner of 16 Grammy Awards, he has also been nominated for the Academy Awards thrice. He launched the David Foster Foundation to help sick children.

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 8 
Hank Snow
(Country Singer Best Known for Songs: 'I’m Moving On' and 'The Golden Rocket')

Hank Snow
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: December 20, 1999

Hank Snow was a Canadian-American country music artist who had an extensive career spanning half a century. He rose to fame in the 1950s and released around 140 albums during his career. He endured extreme difficulties as a youngster and sought solace in music, eventually becoming one of the most influential artists in all of country music. 

 9 
Boi-1da
(Music executive, Record producer, Composer)

Boi-1da
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kingston

 10 
Stan Rogers
(Former folk musician and songwriter)

Stan Rogers
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamilton, Canada
Died: June 2, 1983

Canadian folk musician Stan Rogers is remembered both for his baritone voice and for his 6’4” frame. The rock bassist was initially mistaken for Gordon Lightfoot for his singing style. He died in an unfortunate fire on an Air Canada flight in Ohio at age 33.

 11 
Bruce Cockburn
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, Musicologist, Composer)

Bruce Cockburn
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottawa

 12 
Bob Rock
(Record producer well known as a producer for heavy metal bands such as Metallica and Mötley Crüe)

Bob Rock
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Grammy Award-winning Canadian sound engineer and music producer Robert Jens Rock, or Bob Rock, has not just worked with bands such as Metallica and Aerosmith, but has also composed for films such as Mission: Impossible II and St. Elmo's Fire. He is part of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

 13 
Christophe Beck
(composer, film score composer)

Christophe Beck
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montreal

 14 

Mack Sennett
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Canada
Died: November 5, 1960

Mack Sennett was a film actor, director, and producer. He specialized in comedy and was known as the 'King of Comedy'. Born in Canada in 1880, he moved to USA as a young man and entered the fledgling film industry as an actor. He found considerable success and went on to open Keystone Studios in Edendale. 

 15 
Daniel Adair
(Drummer, Composer, Musician)

Daniel Adair
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vancouver

 16 
Richie Hawtin
(Record producer, Club DJ, Composer, Disc jockey, Musician)

Richie Hawtin
3
Birthdate: June 4, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Banbury

 17 

George Beverly Shea
3
Birthdate: February 1, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Winchester, Canada
Died: April 16, 2013

 18 
Mychael Danna
(Composer, Musician, Film score composer)

Mychael Danna
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Winnipeg

 19 
Phil X
(Musician and Guitarist)

Phil X
0
Birthdate: March 10, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 20 
A-Trak
(Disc jockey, Singer, Record producer, Composer, Musician, Entrepreneur, Recording artist)

A-Trak
3
Birthdate: March 30, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

 21 
Illangelo
(Songwriter, Record producer, Musician, Composer)

Illangelo
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo

 22 
Logan Mader
(Record producer, Guitarist, Composer)

Logan Mader
2
Birthdate: November 16, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal

 23 
Trevor Morris
(composer, film score composer)

Trevor Morris
2
Birthdate: May 25, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London

 24 
Galt MacDermot
(Composer, Songwriter, Film score composer)

Galt MacDermot
2
Birthdate: December 18, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montreal

 25 
Bruce Fairbairn
(Musician, Engineer, Audio engineer, Trumpeter, Record producer, Composer)

Bruce Fairbairn
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vancouver
Died: May 17, 1999
Bruce Fairbairn was a Canadian musician and international record producer whose style was notable for introducing dynamic horn arrangements into rock music productions. A classically trained trumpet player, Fairbairn gave many hits like Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, Big Ones, Loverboy’s albums among others. He also established Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver.

 26 
Dan Mangan
(Singer, Composer, Songwriter)

Dan Mangan
2
Birthdate: April 28, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Smithers

 27 
Zoë Keating
(Cellist, Composer)

Zoë Keating
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Guelph, Canada

 28 
Jackie Mittoo
(Former keyboard player known for member of The Skatalites)

Jackie Mittoo
2
Birthdate: March 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brown's Town, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica
Died: December 16, 1990

Jackie Mittoo was a Jamaican-Canadian songwriter, keyboardist, and musical director. He is best remembered for his association with the Studio One record label where he worked as a musical director. Jackie Mittoo is also remembered as one of the most important members of the popular ska band, The Skatalites.

 29 
Kenny Wheeler
(Composer)

Kenny Wheeler
2
Birthdate: January 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: September 18, 2014

 30 
Michael Snow
(Film director, Painter)

Michael Snow
0
Birthdate: December 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian avant-garde artist Michael Snow has also been associated with the development of the artistic scene in the US. Part of the structural film movement, he is best remembered for his experimental film Wavelength, which was a 45-minute movie on the events taking place in a room.

 31 
Tami Neilson
(Singer)

Tami Neilson
1
Birthdate: 1977 AD
Birthplace: Canada

Tami Neilson is a singer-songwriter who has won multiple New Zealand Music Awards, including two consecutive awards in 2009 and 2010. Her 2014 album Dynamite was included in The Guardian's top ten country albums of the year list, while her 2015 album Don't Be Afraid peaked at number one on the New Zealand Music Charts.

 32 
Michael McCann
(composer, record producer, musician)

Michael McCann
1
Birthdate: March 5, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary

 33 
Julia Kent
(Cellist, Composer)

Julia Kent
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

 34 

Alberto Guerrero
1
Birthdate: February 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: La Serena, Chile
Died: December 7, 1959

Mostly a self-taught pianist, Alberto Guerrero was a legendary Chilean composer who is also remembered as the mentor of Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould. In Search of Alberto Guerrero, penned by his student John Beckwith, was his first detailed biography, as Guerrero himself left little written record about himself.

 35 
Henry Brant
(Composer)

Henry Brant
1
Birthdate: September 15, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: April 26, 2008

 36 
Violet Archer
(Composer)

Violet Archer
0
Birthdate: April 24, 1913
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: February 21, 2000

Violet Archer was a Canadian teacher, pianist, organist, and composer. She studied music at McGill University and Yale University and taught music at the University of Alberta, where she eventually became the chairperson of the Theory and Composition Department. She was also a musician and composer with a prolific output. Jan Randall and Allan Gilliland are among her students. 

 37 
Erik Mongrain
(Composer)

Erik Mongrain
0
Birthdate: April 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montreal

 38 
Alexander Brott
(Conductor)

Alexander Brott
0
Birthdate: March 14, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: April 1, 2005

 39 
John Weinzweig
(Composer)

John Weinzweig
0
Birthdate: March 11, 1913
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: August 24, 2006

 40 

Jean Papineau-Couture
0
Birthdate: November 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: August 11, 2000

 41 
John Morris Rankin
(Canadian musician)

John Morris Rankin
0
Birthdate: April 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mabou, Nova Scotia
Died: January 16, 2000

 42 

Barbara Pentland
0
Birthdate: January 2, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
Died: February 5, 2000