Famous German Composers

Find out more about the greatest German Composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Hans Zimmer, John Denver and Richard Wagner.

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 German Composers

 1 Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 30, 1770
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bonn, Germany
Died: March 26, 1827

German composer and pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven, remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music even two centuries after his death. Born into a musical family, he was initially tutored by his father. He found success early as a pianist and went on to become an admired composer despite suffering from hearing-impairment.

 2 Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach
6
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 31, 1685
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Eisenach, Germany
Died: July 28, 1750

Johann Sebastian Bach was an 18-th century German composer of the Baroque period. He redefined both church and secular music. He served as the court musician of Duke Johann Ernst and King Augustus III. He created more than 300 cantatas and vocal music such as Mass in B minor.

 3 Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer
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Famous As: Film score composer
Birthdate: September 12, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films so far. He developed a love for music as a child and started playing professionally when he was in his teens. He eventually ventured into films. He is the recipient of four Grammy Awards and three Classical BRIT Awards.

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 4 Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner
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Famous As: Composer, conductor, theatre director
Birthdate: May 22, 1813
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: February 13, 1883
German composer and conductor Richard Wagner is best remembered for his operas and music dramas. He explored the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which combined many forms of art, including the visual, poetic, and musical. He also established the opera house Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which hosted his works The Ring and Parsifal.
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 5 Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Röcken, Lützen, Germany
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

 6 George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel
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Famous As: Baroque composer
Birthdate: February 23, 1685
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Halle (Saale), Germany
Died: April 14, 1759

George Frideric Handel was a Baroque composer renowned for his oratorios, operas, anthems, and organ concertos. A great composer, Handel's works had a strong influence on popular Classical-era composers like Beethoven and Mozart. George Frideric Handel's life and work have also inspired several films, such as the 1942 British biographical film The Great Mr. Handel.

 7 Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Pianist
Birthdate: May 7, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: April 3, 1897
German composer, conductor, and pianist Johannes Brahms is considered as one of the "Three Bs" of music, the other two being Bach and Beethoven. He was known for his perfectionism. Some of his best-known works are Saint Anthony Variations and A German Requiem. His work mingled traditional and modern elements.
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 8 Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist & Music Critic
Birthdate: June 8, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zwickau, Germany
Died: July 29, 1856
Robert Schumann was a German pianist, music critic, and composer. An influential musician of the Romantic era, Schumann is considered one of the greatest composers of the era. Schumann was initially focused on becoming the finest pianist in Europe. However, a hand injury brought an end to his dream, forcing him to focus on composing.

 9 Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 3, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 4, 1847

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer of the early Romantic period. He was also a skilled organist, pianist, and conductor. He composed symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and organ music. His collection of lyrical piano songs Songs Without Words is among his best-known works. He was the founder of the public university The Leipzig Conservatory. He died aged just 38. 

 10 Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: November 30, 1098
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany
Died: September 17, 1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.

 11 Richard Georg Strauss

Richard Georg Strauss
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 11, 1864
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: September 8, 1949

Richard Georg Strauss was a German conductor, composer, violinist, and pianist. Renowned for his pioneering subtleties of orchestration, Strauss is generally regarded as a modernist, although he was initially considered a conservative, backwards-looking composer. Over the years, his music has influenced other prominent composers like Béla Viktor János Bartók, Karol Maciej Szymanowski, Edward Elgar, and Benjamin Britten.

 12 Ramin Djawadi

Ramin Djawadi
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Famous As: Composer, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: July 19, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Duisburg

 13 André Previn

André Previn
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Famous As: Pianist
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.

 14 Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mödrath, Kerpen, Germany
Died: December 5, 2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent and controversial composers. Remembered for his pioneering work in electronic music, Stockhausen received several distinctions and prizes throughout his career. His compositions remain widely influential on jazz, popular music, and composers. 

 15 Johann Pachelbel

Johann Pachelbel
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Famous As: Composer, Organist
Birthdate: 1653 AD
Birthplace: Free Imperial City of Nuremberg
Died: March 7, 1706

Johann Pachelbel was a German composer, teacher, and organist who is credited with helping the south German organ schools achieve their peak. His contributions to the progression of the fugue and chorale prelude have established him as one of the most prominent composers of the middle Baroque era. During his lifetime, his music became a model for several German composers.

 16 Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: August 6, 1969

One of the most prominent intellectuals of the 20th century, Theodor Adorno was a pioneer of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and despised the culture industry. Born to a singer mother, the German sociologist grew up amid music and could even play Beethoven on the piano by 12.

 17 William Herschel

William Herschel
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: November 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: August 23, 1822

William Herschel was a German-born British astronomer and composer. He pioneered the use of astronomical spectrophotometry and discovered infrared radiation. Impressed by his work, King George III appointed him the Court Astronomer. Herschel often collaborated with his sister, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, a fellow astronomer. In 1816, he was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order. 

 18 Clara Wieck Schumann

Clara Wieck Schumann
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Famous As: Musician & Composer
Birthdate: September 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leipzig
Died: May 20, 1896

Clara Wieck Schumann was a German pianist, teacher, and composer. One of the most famous pianists of the Romantic era, Schumann changed the way concerts were conducted during her time and made a long-lasting impression as a pianist. She also influenced other pianists through her teaching; among her students were famous English pianist, Mathilde Verne.

 19 Ernest II

Ernest II
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Famous As: Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Birthdate: June 21, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: August 22, 1893

Ernest II, the eldest son of Duke Ernest I, had been the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He was quite close to his brother, Prince Albert, consort to England’s Queen Victoria. Best known for his support of the German unification, he was also a skilled composer of operas and an avid sports lover.

 20 Klaus Meine

Klaus Meine
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Songwriter, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 25, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover

Klaus Meine is a German singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. He is best known as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Scorpions. He wrote or co-wrote most of the songs released by the band. During the peak of his career, he temporarily lost his voice due to a medical condition but was able to make a comeback. 

 21 Carl Orff

Carl Orff
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: July 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: March 29, 1982

German composer Carl Orff is remembered for his work in operas and his innovative music education system, which relied on group exercises and playing percussion instruments. A man who had started training in music at 5, Orff later co-founded the Günther School to impart lessons in dance, music, and gymnastics.

 22 Thomas Anders

Thomas Anders
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Famous As: Composer, Singer, Actor, Songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: March 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Münstermaifeld

Thomas Anders is a German singer and songwriter. He gained prominence as the lead singer of the German duo Modern Talking. He developed an early love for music and began his career when he was a teenager. Despite being talented, he struggled for a few years before he could make it big in the music scene.  

 23 Horst Wessel

Horst Wessel
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 9, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bielefeld
Died: February 23, 1930

 24 Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Died: April 3, 1950

Kurt Weill was a German composer best remembered for his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht. An influential composer, Weill's music has been recorded by several performers like Frank Sinatra and David Bowie. Singers like Marianne Faithfull and Anne Sofie von Otter have recorded several albums of his music. His music continues to be performed in classical as well as popular contexts.

 25 E. T. A. Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 24, 1776
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1822

E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German author, jurist, artist, composer, and music critic. His stories served as an inspiration and laid the foundation for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is also based on Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffmann is among the most influential authors of the Romantic Movement.

 26 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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Famous As: Film maker
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bad Wörishofen, Germany
Died: June 10, 1982

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a German actor, filmmaker, and playwright. He grew up in the aftermath of World War II and had a tough childhood. He sought solace by watching films and took acting lessons. He began his career in theater and eventually entered films as well. He is considered a prominent figure of the New German Cinema movement. 

 27 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 8, 1714
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Weimar, Germany
Died: December 14, 1788

 28 Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 20, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany

 29 Johann Christian Bach

Johann Christian Bach
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 5, 1735
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: January 1, 1782

 30 Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 16, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Died: December 28, 1963

Although German composer and violinist Paul Hindemith had collaborated with leftist and Jewish musicians, his apolitical stance made him a favorite of the Nazis initially. However, he was later forced to comply with Nazi dictatorship. He moved to the U.S. after his performances were banned in Germany.

 31 Matthias Jabs

Matthias Jabs
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Famous As: Composer, Entrepreneur, Guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover

 32 Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 18, 1786
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eutin, Germany
Died: June 5, 1826

Carl Maria von Weber was a German composer, virtuoso pianist, guitarist, and conductor. A significant musical figure in the Romantic era, he played a key role in the development of the German Romantische Oper (German Romantic opera). He also made significant contributions to vocal and choral music. He was a music critic as well and wrote music journalism. 

 33 Udo Dirkschneider

Udo Dirkschneider
3
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: April 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wuppertal

 34 Harold Faltermeyer

Harold Faltermeyer
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Famous As: Composer, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: October 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Munich

 35 Blixa Bargeld

Blixa Bargeld
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Famous As: Actor, Composer, Experimental musician, Singer, Writer, Guitarist
Birthdate: January 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: West Berlin

 36 Ralf Hütter

Ralf Hütter
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Krefeld, Germany

 37 Max Bruch

Max Bruch
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Famous As: Romantic Composer and Conductor
Birthdate: January 6, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: October 2, 1920

Max Bruch composed his first song at 9 for his mother’s birthday and then earned a scholarship after creating a symphony at the tender age of 14. He worked extensively with the choral societies of Germany and is remembered for his iconic Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.

 38 ATB

ATB
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Famous As: Disc jockey, Musician, Composer
Birthdate: February 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Freiberg

 39 Klaus Schulze

Klaus Schulze
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Famous As: Composer, Musician
Birthdate: August 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin

 40 Bert Kaempfert

Bert Kaempfert
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: October 16, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: June 21, 1980

 41 Cosima Wagner

Cosima Wagner
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Famous As: Composer, Writer, Director
Birthdate: December 24, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bellagio
Died: April 1, 1930

 42 Klaus Badelt

Klaus Badelt
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 12, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

 43 Engelbert Humperdinck

Engelbert Humperdinck
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Siegburg, Germany
Died: September 27, 1921

 44 Georg Philipp Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 14, 1681
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1767

 45 James Last

James Last
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bremen, Germany
Died: June 9, 2015

German composer and big band leader James Last, who headed the James Last Orchestra, had begun his career as a jazz bassist. At 17, he led the Becker-Last Ensemble, which disbanded after 7 years. He is known for his dance hits, especially his iconic Non-Stop Dancing albums.

 46 Marco Minnemann

Marco Minnemann
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: December 24, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany

 47 Wilhelm Furtwängler

Wilhelm Furtwängler
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Famous As: Conductor
Birthdate: January 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: November 30, 1954

 48 C418

C418
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 9, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Germany, Germany

 49 William Basinski

William Basinski
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

 50 Marc Streitenfeld

Marc Streitenfeld
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Famous As: composer, film score composer
Birthdate: October 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Munich