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.
Khatia Buniatishvili is a Georgian-French pianist. Buniatishvili has been playing since the age of three and gave her first concert when she was just six years old. She then went on to play at an international stage at the age of 10. Buniatishvili is known for her association with Sony Classical, which has produced many of her solo piano albums.
Arthur Rubinstein was a Polish-American pianist counted amongst the greatest pianists of all time. He had an extensive career spanning eight decades, during which he earned much international acclaim. He played music performed by several illustrious composers and is especially remembered for his interpretation of Chopin’s music. Renowned pianists François-René Duchâble and Avi Schönfeld were his students.
Better known as Janaki Amma, playback singer S. Janaki had begun her career with the Tamil film Vidhiyin Vilayattu. Also known as the Nightingale of South India, she has lent her voice to over 48,000 songs. Following her retirement, she has been the victim of death hoaxes at least twice.
M.S. Subbulakshmi was an Indian singer. Dubbed the Queen of Music, Subbulakshmi was the leading exponent of Carnatic music. In 1966, she became the first Indian to perform in UN General Assembly. In 1974, she became the first Indian musician to be awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In 1998, Subbulakshmi became the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Zakir Hussain is an Indian musician, tabla virtuoso, percussionist, composer, and music producer. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tabla players of all time, Hussain has received many prestigious awards in his illustrious career. In 1990, he was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
Joe Hisaishi is a Japanese composer and musical director who has composed over 100 film scores and solo albums. Active since the 1970s, he has explored and incorporated numerous genres in his work. He often collaborates with animator Hayao Miyazaki and has composed music for most of his films. He has received a Medal of Honour with a purple ribbon.
Bhimsen Joshi was an Indian vocalist best known for recording devotional songs. Widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Bhimsen Joshi was the first Indian musician whose concerts were promoted through posters in New York City, New York. Over the course of his career, Joshi received prestigious honors, such as the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Grammy-winning Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider was no stranger to music as a child, being the son of an organist father. He is now regarded as one of the pioneering new-age artists. While he initially mastered instruments such as the guitar and the flute, he switched to the harp much later.
Usha Mangeshkar belongs to the iconic Mangeshkar musical family of India and is the second-youngest child of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. She, and her famous siblings, Lata and Asha, once rocked the Hindi playback scene. Her song Mai Toh Aarti from Jai Santoshi Maa earned her a Filmfare nomination.
Legendary sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was born to a court musician in Gwalior and performed his first recital at age 6. He later took the sarod to the international stage, with performances in the US and other countries. The Padma Vibhushan winner’s two sons, too, are classical musicians.
Leopold Godowsky was a renowned Polish-born American pianist, composer and teacher counted among the most highly regarded performers of his day. Notable works of the virtuoso, who was reputed for his remarkable piano technique, includes his compositions like Java Suite, Walzermasken, Passacaglia and Triakontameron; and 53 Studies on Chopin's Études, a set of 53 arrangements of Études by Frédéric Chopin.
Grammy Award-winning German-born American pianist André Watts was the son of a Hungarian refugee mother who was also a pianist. He first gained attention with his TV performance under conductor Leonard Bernstein. He was also the first to perform a live broadcast of a solo recital on TV.
Allauddin Khan was an Indian multi-instrumentalist and composer best remembered as a sarod player. He was also one of the 20th century's most notable music teachers in Indian classical music. Allauddin Khan was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for his immense contribution to Indian music.
Heinrich Schenker was an influential music theorist whose works have had a significant impact on subsequent musical analysis. Based on his theories, a method of analyzing tonal music was developed; the method is now called Schenkerian analysis. Heinrich Schenker's approach was explained in a three volume series titled New Musical Theories and Phantasies.
Part of the British comedy duo Flanders and Swann, Donald Swann had met his partner Michael Flanders in school. Born to Russian Revolution refugees, Swann had also been an ambulance driver during World War II. A talented composer, he either composed or wrote about 2000 songs throughout his career.
Narciso García Yepes was a Spanish guitarist best remembered for his work with conductor and pianist Ataúlfo Argenta. Yepes is credited with popularizing a classical guitar concerto named Concierto de Aranjuez. Over the years, Narciso García Yepes went on to become one of the 20th century's finest virtuoso classical guitarists.