Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, and teacher, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers. He was extremely popular during his lifetime and composed many instrumental concertos and operas. He was also a Roman Catholic priest and worked at a home for abandoned children. Even though he died in 1741, his music continues to be popular.
Grammy Award-winning legendary 20th-century violinist Yehudi Menuhin was born to Lithuanian Jews in the US. Starting his training in the violin at age 4, he later studied music in Paris. He also experimented with fusion, collaborating with jazz and Indian classical musicians. He later launched the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Anne-Sophie Mutter had started learning the piano at age 5 but later switched to the violin. A prodigy, she first played for the Berlin Philharmonic at 13 and became a Royal Academy of Music fellow at 22. She is known for wearing custom-made designer strapless gowns while playing.
André Rieu is a Dutch violinist whose work has earned him international fame for over 30 years. Also an orchestra leader, Rieu is credited with founding the Johann Strauß Orchestra, which is renowned for its unorthodox performances of classical works. André Rieu has played all over the world and is well-known for his performances of classical works by Johann Strauss.
One of the greatest classical violinists of the 21st century, Julia Fischer is also a skilled pianist. She first gained fame with her performances with conductor Lorin Maazel in New York. The German musician had started learning the violin at age 3 and the piano at age 4.
Alexander Rybak is a Belarusian-Norwegian singer-composer, violinist, and pianist. The son of two talented musicians, he began to play musical instruments when he was just five. He studied at the Barratt Due Institute of Music before beginning his career. Besides being a musician, he is also an actor and has appeared in many TV shows and films.
Two-time Grammy Award-winning Soviet violinist David Oistrakh had been trained in the instrument since age 5 and performed in his first concert at age 6. He later taught at the Moscow Conservatory and performed throughout the world, especially in Europe and the US. He also played for Soviet soldiers during World War II.
The son of a trombonist, Venezuelan musician Gustavo Dudamel took to music at age 5 and grew up to be a popular conductor/violinist. He has served as a director of some of the major global orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Grammy winner has also appeared in several TV programs.
Best known as part of the Irish family band The Corrs, singer Sharon Corr is equally talented in instruments such as the violin and the guitar. Born to musician parents, she began playing for orchestras as a child. She opened up about her social anxiety disorder through her solo album.
Hungarian violinist and composer Joseph Joachim was trained in Budapest and London before he became the director of the Hochschule für Ausübende Tonkunst in Berlin. He formed the Joachim Quartet and gained fame as a music teacher. He is best known for his versions of works by legends such as Beethoven.
Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian virtuoso violinist, conductor, and composer. Referred to as The King of the Violin, Ysaÿe is best remembered for his finely honed technique which was without the shortcomings of violinists before Eugène Ysaÿe. He is also remembered for his great interpretations of Bach and Beethoven as well as early modern composers like César Franck.
German violinist and composer Leopold Mozart is best remembered as the father and music teacher of legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, Leopold was often blamed for exploiting his son’s musical talent by pushing him to perform as a child. He also had a troubled relationship with his adult son.
Born to a doctor in Austria, Fritz Kreisler was a music prodigy. However, after being rejected by the Vienna Philharmonic, he had started studying medicine. He had also studied art and been part of the Austrian army, though he is chiefly remembered for his violin pieces such as Viennese Caprice.
Henryk Wieniawski was a Polish composer, violinist, and pedagogue. He is often counted among the greatest violinists of all time. He was also one of the most important players in London's Beethoven Quartet Society. Henryk Wieniawski is still revered by violinists all over the world.
Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli is regarded as a pioneer of the concerto grosso and the sonata. Named after his father who died 5 months before his birth, Corelli rose to be a major figure of Baroque music and became a favorite of priests and the royalty.
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.
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.