The greatest classical music composers were all prodigies in their own right. Many people think classical music is any type of instrumental music that was written before the twentieth century, when technically the Classical Era only spans a 70-year period from 1750 to 1820. The composers who made that era popular continue to have a huge following in modern times.
- Ludwig van Beethoven Probably the most well-known composer from the Classical Era, Beethoven was from Germany and played the piano as well as the violin and organ. His most famous work is “Symphony No. 5 in C minor,” which remains one of the most played pieces of classical music. Beethoven composed the symphony despite having hearing difficulties, which eventually caused him to become totally deaf. He wrote a total of nine symphonies and many other pieces of music before he died in 1827 at the age of 56.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Mozart was an Austrian composer who wrote over 600 pieces of classical music during his lifetime. He played several keyboard instruments as well as the violin. At an early age Mozart was composing music that was world class, which is why many consider him to be the greatest composer in history. One of his best pieces is the last piece he ever composed, “Symphony No. 41 in C major,” which is also known as the “Jupiter” symphony. Mozart died in 1791 after an illness at the age of 35.
- Franz Joseph Haydn Haydn was from Austria and is arguably the third most famous classical music composer. He played the violin as well as the piano and wrote over 100 symphonies during his lifetime. Haydn was friends with Mozart and was one of Beethoven’s teachers. His most famous work is widely considered to be “Symphony No. 94 in G major,” also known as “Surprise.” Haydn died in 1809 at the age of 77.
- Nicolo Paganini Paganini was an Italian classical music composer who played the violin. His father drove him into becoming a world famous violinist by forcing him to practice at a young age. Paganini’s hard work and long hours of practice paid off as he became one of the best violinists of all time. His best composition is “Caprice No. 24 in A minor,” which some consider to be the one of the most difficult violin pieces to play. Paganini died in 1840 at the age of 57.
- Franz Peter Schubert Schubert was an Austrian composer who primarily played the violin and piano. He was well-educated in classical music and eventually composed nine symphonies as well as many other pieces. Schubert’s best work is “Die Winterreise (A Winter's Journey),” which he wrote in 1827. He died a year later at the age of 31.
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