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.

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 1 Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 31, 1685
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
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.

 2 Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner
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Famous As: Composer, conductor, theatre director
Birthdate: May 22, 1813
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
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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 3 Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
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Famous As: Composer, pianist, conductor and teacher
Birthdate: October 22, 1811
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German, Hungarian
Died: July 31, 1886

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.

 4 George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 23, 1685
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German, British
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.

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 5 Ramin Djawadi

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

 6 Ernest II

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

 7 Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms
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Famous As: Composer and pianist
Birthdate: May 7, 1833
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
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 Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 3, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: November 4, 1847

 9 André Previn

André Previn
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German, American
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.

 10 Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
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.

 11 William Herschel

William Herschel
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Famous As: Astronomer, Composer
Birthdate: November 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German, British
Died: August 21, 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. 

 12 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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Famous As: Film maker
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: June 10, 1982

 13 Johann Pachelbel

Johann Pachelbel
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Famous As: Composer, Organist and Teacher
Birthdate: September 1, 1653
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: March 9, 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.

 14 Lou Bega

Lou Bega
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Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: April 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German

 15 Klaus Meine

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

 16 Clara Wieck Schumann

Clara Wieck Schumann
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Famous As: Musician & Composer
Birthdate: September 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
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.

 17 Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann
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Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Music educator
Birthdate: September 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: May 20, 1896

 18 Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German
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. 

 19 Rudolf Schenker

Rudolf Schenker
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Famous As: Composer, Entrepreneur, Guitarist, Writer
Birthdate: August 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German

 20 Thomas Anders

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

 21 Carl Orff

Carl Orff
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: July 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
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 Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
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.

 23 Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach
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Famous As: Composer, Cellist, Conductor, Impresario
Birthdate: June 20, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German, French
Died: October 5, 1880

 24 Uli Jon Roth

Uli Jon Roth
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer
Birthdate: December 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: German

 25 Horst Wessel

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

 26 Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm
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Famous As: Musician, Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: September 20, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German

 27 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist, Musicologist, Music theorist
Birthdate: March 8, 1714
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
Died: December 14, 1788

 28 Georg Philipp Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann
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Famous As: Composer, Musicologist, Musician, Conductor, Music theorist
Birthdate: March 14, 1681
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
Died: June 25, 1767

 29 Paul Landers

Paul Landers
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Famous As: Guitarist, Musician
Birthdate: December 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: German

 30 James Last

James Last
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Famous As: Composer, Conductor, Jazz musician, Pianist, Bandleader, Songwriter, Film score composer
Birthdate: April 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
Died: June 9, 2015

 31 Matthias Jabs

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

 32 Carl Maria von Weber

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

 33 Tom Tykwer

Tom Tykwer
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Composer, Cinematographer, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German

 34 Johann Christian Bach

Johann Christian Bach
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 5, 1735
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: January 1, 1782

 35 Harold Faltermeyer

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

 36 Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 16, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
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.

 37 Udo Dirkschneider

Udo Dirkschneider
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Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: April 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German

 38 Blixa Bargeld

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

 39 ATB

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

 40 Klaus Schulze

Klaus Schulze
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Famous As: Composer, Musician
Birthdate: August 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German

 41 C418

C418
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 9, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German

 42 Klaus Badelt

Klaus Badelt
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Famous As: Composer, Film score composer
Birthdate: June 12, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German

 43 Bert Kaempfert

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

 44 Fanny Mendelssohn

Fanny Mendelssohn
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: November 14, 1805
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
Died: May 14, 1847

 45 Cosima Wagner

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

 46 Marco Minnemann

Marco Minnemann
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Famous As: Composer, Jazz musician
Birthdate: December 24, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: German

 47 Max Bruch

Max Bruch
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Famous As: Composer and Conductor
Birthdate: January 6, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: German
Died: October 20, 1920

 48 Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Glinka
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 1, 1804
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German, Russian
Died: February 15, 1857

Mikhail Glinka was a Russian composer who is considered the fountainhead of classical music in Russia. Glinka was the first Russian musician to achieve widespread acclaim within his own country. His compositions went on to influence subsequent generations of Russian composers, such as the members of The Five.

 49 Wilhelm Furtwängler

Wilhelm Furtwängler
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Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality: German

 50 Engelbert Humperdinck

Engelbert Humperdinck
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German, Indian
Died: September 27, 1921