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
(Composer of the Romantic period)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
9
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
(Russian Composer Who Was Considered One of the Finest Pianists of His Era)

Sergei Rachmaninoff
7
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Starorussky Uyezd
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
(One of the Most Influential Composers of the 20th Century and a Pivotal Figure in 'Modernist Music')

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
9
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 
Zedd
(DJ & Record Producer Best Known for His Song 'Clarity')

Zedd
8
Birthdate: September 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saratov, Russia

Zedd is a Russian-German songwriter, record producer, and DJ. He is best known for his 2012 single, Clarity, which earned him a Grammy Award in 2014 after peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Although he mainly performs and produces electro house music, Zedd also draws inspiration from dubstep, progressive house, and classical music.

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 5 
Vitas
(Singer-songwriter)

Vitas
8
Birthdate: February 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Daugavpils, Latvia

Vitas is a Ukrainian-Russian actor, singer, and songwriter. Renowned for his eclectic musical style and unique falsetto, Vitas has performed with well-known labels like Universal Music Group. He often incorporates elements of folk, classical, jazz, techno, dance, and operatic pop into his music.

 6 

Dmitry Shostakovich
7
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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 7 
Regina Spektor
(Singer-Songwriter)

Regina Spektor
5
Birthdate: February 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
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 8 
Oksana Grigorieva
(Russian Singer-songwriter and Pianist)

Oksana Grigorieva
6
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.

 9 
Irving Berlin
(Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Songwriter, Screenwriter, Film score composer)

Irving Berlin
4
Birthdate: May 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tyumen
Died: September 22, 1989

Irving Berlin was a composer and lyricist. He made tremendous contributions to the Great American Songbook and is widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. He had an extensive career spanning six decades, during which he composed an estimated 1,500 songs. He received the Lawrence Langner Tony Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

 10 
Aleksandr Scriabin
(Composer, Pianist)

Aleksandr Scriabin
5
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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 11 
Lena Katina
(Singer)

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

 12 

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
4
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.

 13 
Jascha Heifetz
(Former Violinist remembered for his performances at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall)

Jascha Heifetz
8
Birthdate: February 2, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: December 10, 1987

 14 
Viktor Tsoi
(Singer-Songwriter)

Viktor Tsoi
3
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 
Evgeny Kissin
(Pianist)

Evgeny Kissin
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow

 16 

Modest Mussorgsky
4
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.

 17 
Sviatoslav Richter
(Who is frequently regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time)

Sviatoslav Richter
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: August 1, 1997

 18 

Daniil Trifonov
3
Birthdate: March 5, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

 19 

Nina Kraviz
5
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. 

 20 
Valery Gergiev
(Conductor)

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

 21 
Vladimir Ashkenazy
(Classical pianist, Conductor and Composer)

Vladimir Ashkenazy
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

 22 
Aleksandr Borodin
(Composer, Chemist)

Aleksandr Borodin
4
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.

 23 
Timati
(Rapper, Singer, Record producer, Composer)

Timati
4
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.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
3
Birthdate: November 7, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Norilsk

 25 
Vladimir Vysotsky
(Best Known for His Unique Singing Style and Lyrics and an Influential Figure in Soviet Culture)

Vladimir Vysotsky
3
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 

Alla Pugacheva
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 27 

Mstislav Rostropovich
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: April 27, 2007

 28 

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

 29 

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

 30 
Viktoria Mullova
(Violinist)

Viktoria Mullova
1
Birthdate: November 27, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zhukovskiy, Russia

 31 
Dima Bilan
(Singer)

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

 32 
Mikhail Glinka
(Composer)

Mikhail Glinka
3
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 

Polina Gagarina
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 34 
Yevgeny Mravinsky
(Conductor, Music pedagogue)

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

 35 

Alfred Schnittke
2
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
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1829
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ofatinti, Moldova
Died: November 20, 1894

 37 
Sergey Lazarev
(Actor, Opera singer, Musician, Singer)

Sergey Lazarev
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow

 38 
Maria Yudina
(Pianist)

Maria Yudina
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nevel, Russia
Died: November 19, 1970

 39 
Edgar Froese
(Artist)

Edgar Froese
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sovetsk, Russia
Died: January 20, 2015

A pioneer in electronic music and founder of music band Tangerine Dream, Edgar Willmar Froese started playing guitar at the age of 15. At nineteen, he formed his first group, which disbanded within three years. By then, he had started experimenting and eventually formed Tangerine Dream, concurrently continuing to sing solo and release solo albums.

 40 
Alexey Vorobyov
(Singer, Actor best known for appearing on the Russian version of The X Factor at the age of 17 in 2005)

Alexey Vorobyov
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tula, Russia

 41 
George Gurdjieff
(Philosopher)

George Gurdjieff
3
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.

 42 

Kristian Kostov
2
Birthdate: March 15, 2000
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 43 

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

 44 
Zemfira
(Singer)

Zemfira
2
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.

 45 
Mily Balakirev
(Composer, pianist, and conductor known today primarily for his work promoting musical nationalism)

Mily Balakirev
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1836
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Died: May 29, 1910

 46 

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

 47 
Maxim Vengerov
(Violinist, Conductor)

Maxim Vengerov
0
Birthdate: August 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Novosibirsk, Russia

 48 
Sergey Stepanov
(Saxophonist, Composer)

Sergey Stepanov
2
Birthdate: September 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tiraspol, Moldova

 49 

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

 50 
Grigory Leps
(Singer-songwriter)

Grigory Leps
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia