The Robinson Library >> Music
George Gershwin at his piano

Composers and Songwriters

kom pOz' er, a person who writes music, especially as a professional occupation


Ludwig van BeethovenLudwig van Beethoven
was one of the few composers of his day to gain personal fame during his lifetime. Amazingly, most of his works were composed after he began to lose his hearing.
Lowell MasonLowell Mason
published The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music in 1822. In 1837, his efforts led to music becoming a part of the curriculum in the Boston public school system.
Irving BerlinIrving Berlin
wrote over 200 songs in his lifetime, many of which were used in films, despite not knowing how to read or write music and only being able to play the piano in one key.
Felix Mendelssohn-BartholdyFelix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
was a respected musician, composer, and conductor by the time he was a teen-ager. As a conductor, he was well known for organizing concerts aimed at presenting composers representing particular periods in music history.
Hoagy CarmichaelHoagy Carmichael
originally studied to be a lawyer, but found far more success as a songwriter. In addition to writing such classics as "Stardust" and "Georgia On My Mind," his career also included the writing of a number of songs used in movies, appearances as an actor in 14 films, three radio musical variety programs, and numerous television appearances.
Ethelbert NevinEthelbert Nevin
began playing piano at age four, wrote a polka at eleven, published his first composition at twelve, and wrote his first song at thirteen. Over the course of his short professional career, he wrote well over 500 compositions, including the songs "Narcissus," "The Rosary," and "Mighty Lak' A Rose."
Aaron CoplandAaron Copland
worked to make classical music accessible to and enjoyable by young Americans.
John Knowles PaineJohn Knowles Paine
was the first American composer to have a work performed in Europe, the first American to write a symphony, and the first professor of music in the United States.
Stephen Collins FosterStephen Collins Foster
wrote over 200 songs in his lifetime, including "Oh! Susanna," "De Camptown Races," "Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," and "Beautiful Dreamer."
Antonio SalieriAntonio Salieri
became composer for the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II at the age of 24, and was for many years one of the most respected and renowed composers in Europe.
George GershwinGeorge Gershwin
was responsible for such well-known hits as "Swanee" and "Rhapsody in Blue," as well as the musicals Funny Face, Girl Crazy, and Porgy and Bess.
Bedrich SmetanaBedrich Smetana
played a major role in the establishment of the Czech national opera and creation of a Czech national style.
Gilbert and SullivanGilbert and Sullivan
were responsible for some of the most popular operattas in the history of English theater, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.
John Philip SousaJohn Philip Sousa
first gained fame as the leader of the Marine Band, from 1880 to 1892. He then formed his own band, which spent forty years on tour. He also composed 136 marches (including "Stars and Stripes Forever"), 70 songs, 11 waltzes, and dozens of other pieces.
Franz Joseph HaydnFranz Joseph Haydn
developed the symphony from a short, simple form of musical composition to a long form for large orchestra.
Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
was the first Russian composer to gain international fame. He is best known today for the ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, as well as the fireworks spectacular standard The 1812 Overture.
Victor HerbertVictor Herbert
was one of the most prolific conductors and composers of the late-1880's and early-1900's, as well as a very accomplished cellist. In 1909, he was instrumental in securing passage of a copyright law beneficial to composers, and he was a co-founder of the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Producers (ASCAP) in 1914.
Wilhelm Richard WagnerWilhelm Richard Wagner
composed the series of operas known collectively as The Ring of the Nibelung, as well as Tristan and Isolde, The Flying Dutchman, and many others.
Edward Albert MacDowellEdward Albert MacDowell
began learning piano at the age of eight, and soon surpassed the talents of his teachers. He became a composer after playing one of his own piano pieces for German composer Franz Liszt, who praised his composing talents even more highly than he did his playing abilities.

The Robinson Library >> Music