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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
14 Viktor Tsoi
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.
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 Nina Kraviz
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.
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.
24 Emil Gilels
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.
30 Dima Bilan
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.
34 Maria Yudina
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.
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.
44 Grigory Leps
49 Cesar Cui
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.