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Most Famous German Composers Who Rocked the Music World

Priyanka Athavale Jun 30, 2019
Despite the drastic change in the music scene over many centuries, there are some legendary music makers that people revere even today. Here is a list of 11 most famous German music composers, and some of their famous works.

Did You Know?

When Clara Schumann greatly reduced composing music due to loss of confidence, these were her words, "I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose - there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?"
We have been through different eras of music. There was the rock, disco, pop, classical, and so many more phases. Most of this music just comes and goes, but there are some pieces, and more importantly some people who create such pieces, that are always remembered by everyone.
Some of these people are famous music composers from Germany, some who lived in the 19th and 20th century, who were among the greatest music legends ever. Here are listed 11 such famous German composers and some of their best known works.
Please remember that this list is not ranked in any order, and it is simply a compilation of 11 names. This is a topic where there will always be different opinions. So read on to know more information about some legendary German music composers, and how their music influenced the world greatly.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

27th January 1756 to 5th December 1791
Mozart is one of the most famous composers in the world. He belonged to the Classical era. Being immensely talented, he began composing musical pieces at the age of 5.
He composed for symphonies, the opera, the piano, and even for chamber music. After his early death from illness, Joseph Haydn, another famous composer wrote about Mozart, "Posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."

Famous Works - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Symphony No. 40, The Marriage of Figaro

Johann Sebastian Bach

21st March 1685 to 28th July 1750
Johann Sebastian Bach belonged to the Baroque period. He made the use of counterpoint in an ingenious way, and was influenced by rhythms and forms from Italian and French music, which he adopted. He came from a family of music makers. He could play the violin, the organ, and harpsichord.
Although he is a famous composer today, in his time, he was more popular as an organist. His compositions have inspired many jazz musicians in later years.

Famous Works - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Air on a G String, Mass in B Minor, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, The Well-Tempered Clavier

Ludwig van Beethoven

16th December 1770 to 26th March 1827
Who can listen to Für Elise and not remember this great composer? Beethoven composed during the transitional era from Classical to Romantic music, and remains an important part of that era even today. He influenced many future musicians with his work.
He composed numerous piano and orchestra pieces, and also pieces for the violin, cello, and many more instruments. He was completely deaf by the end of his life, and composed many beautiful works even then.

Famous Works - Für Elise, Symphony no. 5 in C minor, Symphony no. 9 in D minor (Choral symphony or Ode to Joy), Moonlight Sonata, The Pathetique Sonata

Johannes Brahms

7th May 1833 to 3rd April 1897
Brahms was a famous 19th-century composer belonging to the Romantic era. He composed for chamber music, symphonies, orchestras, chorals, and much more. His father was a musician, and so Johannes learned music at an early age.
Brahms stuck to traditional music as was popular during his time, shunning the modernist type of music as having no uniqueness.

Famous Works - A German Requiem, Symphony No.1 in C minor, Academic Festival Overture, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Tragic Overture

George Frideric Handel

23rd February 1685 to 14th April 1759
George Handel was a famous German composer who belonged to the Baroque era. His creations were influenced by Italian and German music. He composed his first ever opera, Almira, in 1704. Surprisingly, his father who was not very supportive of Handel learning music, was convinced that it was not a means of sustenance.
He had mastered the organ, oboe, and violin by 10 years of age, and began composing when he was 11.

Famous Works - Messiah, Water Music, Royal Fireworks, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale, Concerto Grossi Op. 3 and Op. 6

Felix Mendelssohn

3rd February 1809 to 4th November 1847
Felix Mendelssohn, a famous composer of Jewish origin, lived during the early Romantic era. He played the piano and organ, and was also a music conductor, besides composing his own music. He began learning the piano when he was 6 years old.
His compositions were very popular in both Germany and Britain, bringing him immense success. His died at 38 after suffering from stroke. It is believed that he fell ill due to too much work pressure.

Famous Works
- Italian Symphony, Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, Elijah

Robert Schumann

8th June 1810 to 29th July 1856
Robert Schumann is a prominent musician of the Romantic era. Besides being a composer, he was also a respected music critic. He dreamed of being a pianist, but when a hand injury rendered him unable to do so, he switched to composing. He composed many symphonies, songs, and chamber music pieces.
Sadly, this legendary musician attempted suicide, which led to him being admitted into a mental institution, where he died shortly after. But that did not stop him from inspiring many people with his music.

Famous Works - Carnaval, Kreisleriana

Clara Schumann

13th September 1819 to 20th May 1896
A very famous female composer and excellent pianist, Clara Josephine Wieck (Schumann) was also the wife of Robert Schumann. She belonged to the Romantic era. During her 60-year career, she influenced many musicians, and actually renewed and altered the way piano recitals were conducted.
Her extraordinary talent even managed to change the public's perception to new kind of music. Despite such a wonderful gift, she greatly reduced composing after the age of 36.

Famous Works - Piano Trio Op. 17, Piano Concertino in F minor, Piano Trio in G minor

Richard Wagner

22nd May 1813 to 13th February 1883
Richard Wagner belonged to the Romantic era, and became very famous for his operas. Apart from that, he was also infamous for his writings on anti-Semitism, which gained him favor with Adolf Hitler. He changed the face of opera through Gesamtkunstwerk, which meant synthesis of the arts.
It involved combining the various art forms and using them together in the opera. He is one of the most influential composers of his time.

Famous Works - The Ride of The Valkyries, Bridal March, The Nibelung's Ring

Max Christian Friedrich Bruch

6th January 1838 to 20th October 1920
Max Bruch was a German composer who lived during the romantic era. He was also a music conductor. He has over 200 works to his credit. He created his very first composition at the age of 9, and since then, music became his life.
He held the post of music teacher at many places, creating his own pieces simultaneously. His music was traditional and conservative, and thus it became classified under Romantic classicism.

Famous Works - Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Scottish Fantasy, Kol Nidrei Op. 47

Johann Pachelbel

1st September 1653 to 9th March 1706
Johann Pachelbel belonged to the Baroque era. He took the organ to new levels, and composed many pieces using the same. He made immense contributions to the chorale prelude, which makes use of the chorale for creating compositions for the organ.
He was influenced by French and South German composers, and most of his creations are proof of that. He is considered as one of the most significant musicians of the Baroque period.

Famous Works - Canon
These were some of the most famous German music composers of all time. As mentioned before, this is a subjective topic that can have many opinions.