Summer of the Great Composers


Thanks for joining us for KDFC's Summer of the Great Composers! Peruse the list below to see who made the list (and who didn't). You may be shocked. Let us know what you think on KDFC's Facebook Page. To join the conversation, click here.

And what a great summer it's been. We hate for it to end, so we’re going to play back your top 40 composers again. Starting Friday, August 26th through Monday the 29th, we’ll play one work each hour from 9a to 7p as we count them down one more time, and we’ll slip in some of the composers who just missed the list too. A fun way to cap off the summer with the Summer of the Great Composers recap from Classical KDFC.

Looking for more Great Composer fun? Think you can name the musical mugs in our Great Composer collage? Give it, click here!
The most famous and influential composer in music history. His life and music provided the template for musical Romanticism.

Bio, fun facts and more about Ludwig van Beethoven at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Ludwig van Beethoven
Bach was a formidable intellectual and technical composer, but his music is also uplifting and spiritual, melodic, and rhythmically irresistible. Few names in music are as revered as Bach’s.

Bio, fun facts and more about Johann Sebastian Bach at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Johann Sebastian Bach
Mozart was a supreme melodist and is one of the most popular classical composers of all time. “Mozartean” is practically synonymous with elegance and grace.

Bio, fun facts and more about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Beloved Czech composer of symphonic, chamber and operatic works. Most famous for the “New World” symphony.

Bio, fun facts and more about Antonin Dvořák at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Antonin Dvořák
Chopin embodies the Romantic ideal of the introverted and reclusive genius. His music is full of unexpected twists and turns, and explores the full  range of Romantic expression through the piano.

Bio, fun facts and more about Frédéric Chopin at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Frédéric Chopin
Last of the great line of German symphonists. One of the musicians who bridged Romanticism and the early Modernist era at the turn of the 20th century.

Bio, fun facts and more about Gustav Mahler at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Gustav Mahler
The first fully conservatory-trained, professional composer of consequence in Russia. His melodic gift made him an international superstar and he remains one of the most popular Romantic composers.

Bio, fun facts and more about Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Possibly the best-known Italian Baroque composer, Vivaldi wrote more than 400 concertos (such as his famous Four Seasons), thus cementing the basics of this now-standard musical form.

Bio, fun facts and more about Antonio Vivaldi at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Antonio Vivaldi
Late, great, Russian Romantic composer. Equally famous as a pianist; many of his best compositions are for that instrument.

Bio, fun facts and more about Sergei Rachmaninoff at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Often called the successor to Beethoven, Brahms achieved greatness in a wide variety of genres. Despite his intellectual rigor, he is one of the most popular Romantic composers.

Bio, fun facts and more about Johannes Brahms at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Johannes Brahms
Composer of some of the most beloved concert works of the 20th century, along with dozens of familiar jazz standards.

Bio, fun facts and more about George Gershwin at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by George Gershwin
Frenchman Claude Debussy offered a musical alternative to Romanticism. Because he reinterpreted or discarded many of the laws of traditional harmony and form, he is considered one of the fathers of modern music.

Bio, fun facts and more about Claude Debussy at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Claude Debussy
Composer of the most instantly recognizable and popular film music in Hollywood history, and one of the most honored American classical composers.

Bio, fun facts and more about John Williams at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by John Williams
The first Norwegian composer to gain a Europe-wide reputation, famous for his lyrical, shorter pieces.

Bio, fun facts and more about Edvard Grieg at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Edvard Grieg
The leading composer of the generation that "revived" British classical music in the early 20th Century. He was inspired by English folk song and Elizabethan and 17th-century English music.

Bio, fun facts and more about Ralph Vaughan Williams at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Ralph Vaughan Williams
20th-century American composer, often nicknamed "The Dean of American Composers," for the quintessentially American musical sound he created.

Bio, fun facts and more about Aaron Copland at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Aaron Copland
Last in the line of "Golden Age" Italian opera composers, responsible for some of the world's most beloved operas.

Bio, fun facts and more about Giacomo Puccini at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Giacomo Puccini
Loved for his beautiful melodies, Prokofiev also demonstrated a sense of humor-often biting-that tempered his Romanticism. He is one of the most popular 20th-century composers.

Bio, fun facts and more about Sergei Prokofiev at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Sergei Prokofiev
The leading French composer of his generation, he was considered the “French Beethoven” in his lifetime, and was often compared to Mozart.

Bio, fun facts and more about Camille Saint-Saëns at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Camille Saint-Saëns
Russian 20th-century composer especially famous for his symphonies.

Bio, fun facts and more about Dmitri Shostakovich at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Dmitri Shostakovich
“Papa” Haydn; the most celebrated composer of his time, developer of the string quartet and a major influence on symphonic composition.

Bio, fun facts and more about Joseph Haydn at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Joseph Haydn
Full-time chemist, part time genius composer.

Bio, fun facts and more about Alexander Porfir′yevich Borodin at San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Alexander Porfir′yevich Borodin
Early standard-bearer for German musical Romanticism in mid-19th century, and a powerful influence on Romantic musicians.

Bio, fun facts and more about Robert Schumann at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Robert Schumann
The greatest French art song composer, and one of the most original musicians of the 19th Century.

Bio, fun facts and more about Gabriel Fauré at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Gabriel Fauré
Wagner reinvented German opera and became one of the most influential composers of all time. His reforms affected opera composition, theatrical practice in general, and the development of the orchestra.

Bio, fun facts and more about Richard Wagner at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Richard Wagner
Seminal composer of the early Romantic era. His original harmonies and his affinity for homely genres like the art-song (lieder) and short piano pieces were hugely influential.

Bio, fun facts and more about Franz Schubert at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Franz Schubert
One of the most celebrated and prolific composers of the German Baroque, his mastery of many styles and incredible ingenuity and inventiveness have brought him renewed popularity.

Bio, fun facts and more about Georg Philipp Telemann at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Georg Philipp Telemann
Composer of Scheherazade and several great operas, Rimsky-Korsakov was also a great teacher, one of the most important influences in 19th-century Russian music.

Bio, fun facts and more about Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Known as “The Swan of Pesaro,” Rossini was the most popular composer of the first half of the 19th century. Rossini’s highly ornate musical style revolutionized the art form, inaugurating the “Golden Century” of Italian opera.

Bio, fun facts and more about Gioachino Rossini at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Gioachino Rossini
Initially famous as a composer of symphonic poems (notably “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which contains the theme made famous in “2001: Space Odyssey”), he later concentrated on writing operas. Strauss is an important link between Romanticism and 20th-century modernism.

Bio, fun facts and more about Richard Strauss at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Richard Strauss
Finnish symphonist considered a national hero in his homeland. His music spans an enormous emotional range, and many of his innovations remain influential on contemporary composers.

Bio, fun facts and more about Jean Sibelius at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Jean Sibelius
In early 20th-century France, Ravel was one of the great orchestrators in music. He used his original harmonic sensibility to create lush, tuneful, and engaging works.

Bio, fun facts and more about Maurice Ravel at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Maurice Ravel
The leading English composer at the beginning of the 20th century, Elgar was the first one in more than a century to earn a major international reputation. He was equally successful with small, popular works and large, symphonic ones.

Bio, fun facts and more about Sir Edward William Elgar at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Sir Edward William Elgar
A stinging gadfly in the dead white male club, Satie rejected most ideas of “great” music he inherited, and struck out on his own to discover a modern, un-Romantic style.

Bio, fun facts and more about Erik Satie at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Erik Satie
Composer of the opera Carmen and a handful of other popular works.

Bio, fun facts and more about Georges Bizet at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Georges Bizet
Creator of several of the world’s most popular operas, Verdi is generally considered the greatest Italian opera composer.

Bio, fun facts and more about Giuseppe Verdi at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Giuseppe Verdi
The composer of one of the most popular orchestral works of all time, The Planets.

Bio, fun facts and more about Gustav Holst at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Gustav Holst
As much a superstar in his time as Michael Jackson was in ours, he revolutionized the art of piano playing. As a composer he remains most famous for his tuneful and brilliant Hungarian Rhapsodies.

Bio, fun facts and more about Franz Liszt at
San Francisco Classical Voice

Buy CDs by Franz Liszt

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