Famous Russian Musicians

Inspired by history and folklore, Russian music is one of the most powerful and beautiful melody-type that is drenched in culture, heritage and traditions. Its astonishingly rich and creative orchestral sound separates it from the rest of Europe. While classical Russian music is deep-embedded and sophisticated, the advancement in society has seen music types such as pop, jazz, rock, metal, punk, rap and techno acquire an enormous place in Russian music. However, the greatness of Russian music hadn’t been half that it is today without Russian musicians, who through their creative outpouring and inventive orchestration, helped Russian music become a paradigm of prominence in the world music forum. And while talking about Russian musicians, one cannot really exempt from mentioning five influential Russian musical nationalists, popularly known as The Five or The Mighty Handful who dominated the Romantic period of music. These include Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Some of the most popular 20th and 21st century Russian musicians include Lera Auerbach, Yury G Chernavsky, Leonid Desyatnikov, Aleksandr Lokshin and Alla Pavlova. Browse through this section to get details of the life and works of famous Russian musicians and composers. Get drenched in their symphonies and master works.

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 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
4
Famous As: Composer of the Romantic period
Birthdate: May 7, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Votkinsk, Russia
Died: November 6, 1893

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer to place Russian music on the international stage. Often described as a musician who transcended the stereotypes of classical Russian music, Tchaikovsky is credited with making the Western world take note of Russian music. Although he was criticized by the critics, his popularity among the public never faded.

 2 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff
6
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Velikiy Novgorod
Died: March 28, 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, conductor, and virtuoso pianist of the late Romantic period. Credited with exploring the expressive possibilities of the piano, Rachmaninoff's music continues to be featured in films. His four-year struggle with depression, which was followed by the critical failure of his Symphony No. 1, was depicted in the 2015 musical Preludes.

 3 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist & Conductor
Birthdate: June 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 6, 1971

Four-time Grammy-winning Russian composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He is remembered for his ballets The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. He broke the traditional flow of music and incorporated his own style.

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 4 Dmitry Shostakovich

Dmitry Shostakovich
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: August 9, 1975

Dmitry Shostakovich was a Soviet and Russian pianist and composer. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's major composers, Shostakovich's music is characterized by ambivalent tonality, elements of the grotesque, and sharp contrasts. He composed 15 symphonies during his lifetime and most of his work came under Joseph Stalin.

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 5 Oksana Grigorieva

Oksana Grigorieva
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Pianist
Birthdate: February 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saransk, Russia
Russian singer and pianist Oksana Grigorieva patented a method of teaching music to children in the U.S. She is best known for her track Un día llegará. She has been in the news for her bitter break-up with former partner Mel Gibson. She has worked with the Chernobyl Children's Project.

 6 Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor
5
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
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 7 Aleksandr Scriabin

Aleksandr Scriabin
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: December 25, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: April 14, 1915

Russian composer and pianist Aleksandr Scriabin is considered one of the most innovative and controversial of early modern composers. Interested in music from an early age, he built pianos as a young man and didn’t take long to establish himself as a brilliant composer. Unfortunately, he died at the height of his career, at the age of just 43. 

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 8 Lena Katina

Lena Katina
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 4, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 9 George Gurdjieff

George Gurdjieff
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 13, 1866
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gyumri, Armenia
Died: October 29, 1949

Born to a poet and carpenter, George Gurdjieff grew up reading a lot of science books in his hometown, Kars. He later laid down the concept of The Fourth Way, stating that humans can overcome their state of waking sleep through methods involving a combination of music, dance, and lectures.

 10 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 18, 1844
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tikhvin, Russia
Died: June 21, 1908

While he grew up listening to Russian folk songs and church music, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov later joined the navy with his brother. One of the legendary Russian composers known as The Mighty Handful, he is remembered for his pieces such as Flight of the Bumblebee from the opera Tsar Saltan.

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 11 Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich
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Famous As: One of the Russian major composer of the 20th century
Birthdate: September 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 9, 1975

 12 Evgeny Kissin

Evgeny Kissin
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: October 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow

 13 Sviatoslav Richter

Sviatoslav Richter
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Famous As: Who is frequently regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time
Birthdate: March 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: August 1, 1997

 14 Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi
3
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: June 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 15, 1990

Viktor Tsoi, the lead singer of the legendary Russian rock band Kino, broke the hearts of his fans across the world when he died in a tragic car crash at age 28. A symbol of rebellion, Tsoi transformed rock music from an underground movement to a mainstream phenomenon in Russia.

 15 Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Mussorgsky
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 21, 1839
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Karevo, Russia
Died: March 28, 1881

Modest Mussorgsky was a Russian composer best remembered for being part of a renowned 19th-century Russian composers group known as The Five. An innovator of Russian music, Mussorgsky worked towards achieving a Russian musical identity that challenged the already established Western music, which was generally considered conventional at that time.

 16 Daniil Trifonov

Daniil Trifonov
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: March 5, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

 17 Nina Kraviz

Nina Kraviz
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Famous As: DJ
Birthdate: October 12, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Irkutsk, Russia

Nina Kraviz is a Russian DJ, singer, and music producer. She studied dentistry and even practiced for some time while performing gigs as a side hustle. She then proceeded to study at the Red Bull Music Academy. She released her self-titled debut album in 2012 and then went on to launch her own record label. 

 18 Vladimir Ashkenazy

Vladimir Ashkenazy
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Famous As: Classical pianist, Conductor and Composer
Birthdate: July 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

 19 Aleksandr Borodin

Aleksandr Borodin
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Famous As: Composer, Chemist
Birthdate: November 12, 1833
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: February 27, 1887

Aleksandr Borodin was a Russian musical composer. He was one of the popular 19th-century group of musicians known as The Five, who worked together to create a national style of classical music. A chemist and doctor by profession, Borodin also made important contributions to organic chemistry. His best known work as a chemist is his work pertaining to organic synthesis.

 20 Alla Pugacheva

Alla Pugacheva
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 15, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 21 Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev
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Famous As: Conductor
Birthdate: May 2, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 22 Timati

Timati
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Famous As: Rapper, Singer, Record producer, Composer
Birthdate: August 15, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow
Born into an affluent Russian family, Timati initially studied economics but later drifted toward music. The hip-hop artist gained fame with the reality show Star Factory 4 and later released hits such as Welcome to St. Tropez. However, his song Moscow, deriding anti-government protestors, became the most-disliked Russian YouTube video.

 23 Grigory Sokolov

Grigory Sokolov
2
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

 24 Emil Gilels

Emil Gilels
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: October 19, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine
Died: October 14, 1985

 25 Vladimir Vysotsky

Vladimir Vysotsky
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: July 25, 1980

A Soviet cultural icon, singer Vladimir Vysotsky was known for his social commentary in his songs. In his early years, he quit engineering to study acting. He later ruled the stage as an actor, before stepping into music. He even distributed his recordings after being banned in the country.

 26 Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 7, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Norilsk

 27 Polina Gagarina

Polina Gagarina
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 28 Mikhail Pletnev

Mikhail Pletnev
1
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: April 14, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Arkhangelsk, Russia

 29 Sergey Lazarev

Sergey Lazarev
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Famous As: Actor, Opera singer, Musician, Singer
Birthdate: April 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow

 30 Dima Bilan

Dima Bilan
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 24, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ust-Dzheguta, Russia

 31 Mstislav Rostropovich

Mstislav Rostropovich
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Famous As: Conductor
Birthdate: March 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: April 27, 2007

 32 Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Glinka
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 1, 1804
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yelninsky District, Smolensk Oblast, Russia
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.

 33 Yevgeny Mravinsky

Yevgeny Mravinsky
1
Famous As: Conductor, Music pedagogue
Birthdate: June 4, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 19, 1988

 34 Maria Yudina

Maria Yudina
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Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nevel, Russia
Died: November 19, 1970

 35 Alfred Schnittke

Alfred Schnittke
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 24, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Engels, Russia
Died: August 3, 1998

Born to German parents in Russia, composer Alfred Schnittke is remembered for his signature style of music, known as polystylism, which was characterized by its dark themes. A versatile musician, who also composed film scores, he was once banned from leaving the country by the Soviet authorities.

 36 Anton Rubinstein

Anton Rubinstein
3
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: November 28, 1829
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ofatinti, Moldova
Died: November 20, 1894

 37 Alexey Vorobyov

Alexey Vorobyov
2
Famous As: Singer, Actor, Composer
Birthdate: January 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tula

 38 Alexander Glazunov

Alexander Glazunov
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 10, 1865
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 21, 1936

 39 Olga Seryabkina

Olga Seryabkina
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 12, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 40 Mily Balakirev

Mily Balakirev
2
Famous As: composer, conductor, educationist, musicologist
Birthdate: December 31, 1836
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod
Died: May 29, 1910

 41 Zemfira

Zemfira
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ufa, Russia

Russian rock-musician Zemfira has made her mark as a singer in Russia and other former Soviet republics with studio-albums like Zemfira and Forgive Me My Love, and hit singles like You Want? Forgive Me My Love became the best-selling album of Zemfira with over 1,500,000 copies sold, while overall till date Zemfira has sold over 3 million records.

 42 Maxim Vengerov

Maxim Vengerov
0
Famous As: Violinist, Conductor
Birthdate: August 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Novosibirsk, Russia

 43 Sofia Gubaidulina

Sofia Gubaidulina
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 24, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chistopol, Russia

 44 Grigory Leps

Grigory Leps
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia

 45 Arkady Kobyakov

Arkady Kobyakov
2
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: June 2, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Novgorod, Russia
Died: September 19, 2015

 46 Nyusha

Nyusha
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 47 Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov

Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov
2
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: April 18, 1883
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Plakhino, Russia
Died: July 8, 1946

 48 Alexander Gradsky

Alexander Gradsky
1
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kopeysk, Russia

 49 Cesar Cui

Cesar Cui
2
Famous As: Composer, Music Critic
Birthdate: January 18, 1835
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: March 26, 1918

Cesar Cui was a Russian composer best remembered for his association with a group called The Five, which worked to create a national style of classical music. Also a well-known music critic of his time, Cui worked hard to promote the music of other Russian composers, especially the works of his co-members from The Five.

 50 Igor Krutoy

Igor Krutoy
2
Famous As: Composer, Record producer
Birthdate: July 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Haivoron, Ukraine