Famous Classical Composers: Top Composers in Music History

This page is dedicated to famous classical composers. It’s a compilation of all the videos we’ve done on PianoTV that feature Classical composers, from Mozart to Alkan.

On this page, we’ll look at composers from the following eras:

  • Baroque
  • Classical
  • Romantic
  • Modern

This page is constantly expanding as we create new videos. I hope you’ll enjoy exploring the interesting lives of Classical composers as much as I do!

A Brief History of… Baroque Composers

 

 

 

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach was the main man of the Baroque period, and one of my all-time favorite composers. He wrote music for all levels, from beginner to very advanced, and he was an extremely successful and prolific musician and organist in his day.

Bach wrote some really important works for keyboard, and if you’re looking to get into Baroque music, he’s the gold standard.

For listening, you can check out five of my favorites, as well as Bach in the movies.

Here on this channel we’ve analyzed his famous and epic Goldberg Variations and his French Suite no. 1.

As far as playing Bach’s music goes, here’s a primer on the easiest Bach pieces (and the most difficult). There’s a grade 1 tutorial on this channel for his Chorale BWV 514 as well.

A Brief History of… Classical Composers

 

 

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This is the brief history that started it all. It was the first one we ever made at PianoTV, because Mozart is a natural first choice. As one of the most famous classical composers of all time, you probably know bits and pieces about his life already.

Still, there’s much to be learned about this fascinating man and his music. I hope you’ll find something new!

Additionally, we also did a video on the health benefits of Mozart, which is a fun exploration of science.

We did a video on the music of Mozart, and some popular early level tutorials are his Alla Turca and Minuet in F Major. Other tutorials for Mozart’s music on this channel include his Allegro in Bb major and the intro of his Fantasia in D minor.

Here’s an analysis video on Mozart’s famous Fantasia in D minor. We also took a look at Mozart’s K545 in order to understand sonata form.

 

 

 

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Beethoven is another extremely well-known Classical composer. He had a stormy personality and a passionate writing style, which makes his piano sonatas among my all-time favorites. Of course, you’re probably already familiar with hisĀ Moonlight Sonata.

As with Mozart, you probably already know tidbits about Beethoven’s life, like that he began doing deaf in early adulthood. In this video, we talk about his life story, including a discussion on his love life and personality.

If you’re interested in learning Beethoven, but don’t know where to begin, check out this video on the Easiest Beethoven Pieces (from beginner to immediate). This video was designed to give you a practicing starting point.

You can also check out my six favorite Beethoven pieces, and try the early-level tutorials for his Fur Elise (Intro), Sonata Pathetique (Intro), his Third Concerto (Largo – introduction), and Russian Air.

 

 

 

Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn completes the Classical music dream team trio. Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn were the all-stars of the era, transforming music and solidifying a sound-style that all of us are familiar with today.

Haydn has always been one of my favorite composers. He was remarkably un-tragic for a musician, didn’t die young, was wealthy and successful, and seemed to be an all-around awesome dude.

You can check out my favorite Haydn music picks, and give the early-level piano tutorial to his Farewell Symphony a try.

 

 

 

Muzio Clementi

Aside from writing a famous collection of sonatinas for the intermediate performer, Clementi is virtually unknown (especially outside the piano world). But, as with most other co.posers, he was an interesting man who led an interesting life, and this is worth looking at if you’re getting into Clementi’s music.

If you’re not ready for Clementi’s grade 3 Sonatina in C major, you can give his Prelude in E minor a try to challenge your fingers to fast playing.

Other

Czerny and Hanon were from the Classical era, and both wrote a ton of piano exercises and studies. In this video I weigh the pros and cons of each set of studies.

A Brief History of… Romantic Composers

 

 

 

Franz Schubert

First up on this list: Franz Schubert. I put him at the top because he was a transitional composer. What this means is his musical style is a transition from the Classical music sound, to the Romantic music sound.

He was incredibly prolific despite barely making it to his 30th birthday. His strong sense of life purpose, that of a songwriter, is completely enviable. He knew what he was put on earth to do, and he did it.

You can listen to some examples of Schubert’s best music, and go on a listening/analyzing tour of his second piano trio.

I did a video where you can watch me practice a Schubert piece – his Moments Musicaux #3.

 

 

 

Frederic Chopin

Chopin is a piano player favorite. Not only is his music emotive, delicate and moving, but almost all of the compositions he wrote were for the piano. Chopin’s style can range from light and joyful to painfully depressive – his music ran the full spectrum of human emotion.

Aside from innovating piano playing style, Chopin had an interesting, short and tragic life. He’s a favorite for good reason!

If you’re a piano player, you might want to check out the video on Chopin’s Easiest Pieces (And Most Difficult), if you’re looking to get into his music but aren’t sure where to start.

We also have a video on the best Chopin pieces. There are some simplified tutorials on this channel, such as his Waltz in Am, and Winter Wind etude. We also have an analysis of what is arguable Chopin’s most famous piece – his Nocturne op. 9 no. 2.

Some analysis videos of Chopin’s music include the entirety of his preludes (the first 12 and the second 12).

 

 

 

Franz Liszt

Another major composer from the Romantic era, and a favorite of many pianists, is Franz Liszt. Franz Liszt was basically the polar opposite of Chopin – showy, dramatic and loud – but they were good friends nonetheless.

Much of Liszt’s music is extremely difficult, but if you’re looking to get into his music, check out the easiest pieces by Liszt. The easiest among them start at a late intermediate level. Additionally, here’s a video of 6 of my favorite Liszt pieces to get you acquainted with him.

You can also go on a musical journey and explore his three Liebestraume, as well as his very famous Hungarian Rhapsody #2.

Charles Alkan

Charles Alkan is a little-known Romantic composer who, as with all the others, led an extremely interesting life. He was very passionate, very introverted, and very talented. As a piano player, he’s worth knowing!

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Tchaikosky was a late-Romantic composer who wrote in a highly emotive Russian style. Be sure to check out his Brief History for his life story. We also have a video of the Music of Tchaikovsky, outlining five of my favorite tunes of his.

Check out the easiest pieces by Tchaikovsky if you’re wanting to learn his music and are looking for a place to start. There are also a couple intermediate-level Tchaikovsky tutorials on this channel, Morning Prayer and the Sick Doll.

A Brief History of… 20th Century Composers

 

 

 

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy was an Impressionist composer who wrote the very famous Clair de Lune.

For getting started with Debussy, be sure to check out the video on the music of Debussy for some of my favorite selections to get you started. If you’re interested in learning Debussy on the piano, I’ve also ranked the difficulty of his pieces in the easiest Debussy.

Other Composers & Videos

 

 

 

Women in Classical music had a rough time of it. They often weren’t allowed to make music a career, or publish music, or even perform. Still there are amazing stories of amazing women in music history, despite their lack of opportunity.

In my music history reading, I come across some very strange facts on many composers. So I decided to do a fun video about this strangeness. In this video, I hope you learn something new about the composers you know and love.

Sure, everyone’s heard of Bach and Beethoven. But what about Dvorak? This video explores some great composers who, for one reason or another, missed the spotlight.