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20th Century Composers


41. Erik Satie

French pianist and composer of the 20th century particularly known for his piano music. His works, such as the soothing "Gymnopedie No. 1," remains very popular to this day. Satie has been described as eccentric and is said to have become a recluse later in his life.

42. Arnold Schoenberg

Photo by Florence Homolka from Wikimedia Commons
The "12-tone System" is a term mainly attributed to Schoenberg. He wanted to eliminate the tonal center and developed a technique wherein all the 12 notes of the octave are of equal importance.

43. Aleksandr Scriabin

Russian composer and pianist of the 20th century most known for his symphonies and piano music that were influenced by mysticism and philosophical ideas. His works include the "Piano Concerto," "Symphony No. 1," "Symphony No. 3," "Poem of Ecstasy" and "Prometheus."

44. Dmitry Shostakovich

20th century Russian composer especially noted for his symphonies and string quartets. Sadly, he was one of the great composers from Russia who was artistically stifled during the reign of Stalin. His "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" initially received acceptance but was later denounced due to Stalin's disapproval of the said opera.

45. Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen was an influential and innovative German composer and educator of the 20th and early 21st century. He was the first to compose music from sine-wave sounds. Stockhausen experimented with tape recorders and electronic instruments.

46. Igor Stravinsky

Image from the Library of Congress
Russian composer of the 20th century who introduced the concept of modernism in music. His father, who was one of the foremost Russian operatic basses, was one of Stravinsky's main influences. Stravinsky was discovered by Sergei Diaghilev, the producer of the Ballet Rouse. Some of his famous works are "The Firebird," "The Rite of Spring" and "Oedipus Rex."

47. Germaine Tailleferre

Germaine Tailleferre was one of the foremost French composers of the 20th century and the only female member of Les Six; a title given by the critic Henri Collet to a group of young composers during the 1920s.

48. Michael Tippett

Conductor, music director and one of the leading British composers of the 20th century. He wrote string quartets, symphonies and operas, including "The Midsummer Marriage" which was produced in 1952. Tippett was knighted in 1966.

49. Edgard Varese

Edgard Varèse was one of the composers of the 20th century who experimented with music and technology. Among his compositions is "Ionisation," a piece for orchestra composed of solely percussion instruments. Varese also experimented in taped music and electronic instruments.

50. Heitor Villa-Lobos

Prolific Brazilian composer, conductor, music educator and advocate of Brazilian music. He wrote choral and chamber music, instrumental and orchestral pieces, vocal works and piano music. Villa-Lobos wrote more than 2,000 compositions, including "Bachianas Brasilieras" which was inspired by Bach, and "Concerto for Guitar." His etudes and preludes for the guitar remain popular to this day.

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