Classical The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians  

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List Rules Upvote your favorite 20th century conductors, arrangers and musicians

20th century classical music artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List includes any good 20th century classical music band label, album and biographical information when available if you click on the names. This list of the top 20th century classical music bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. 20th century classical music groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all 20th century classical music bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest 20th century classical music bands of all time, since the most famous 20th century classical music artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best 20th century classical music music.

You can click on the 20th century classical music band names to see more information about that particular notable 20th century classical music group. If they're near the top of the best 20th century classical music artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top 20th century classical music bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the 20th century classical music band names themselves.

List artists include Elvis Costello, Leonard Bernstein and many more. Every time you vote for an item you like, or think deserves a top spot, that item has a better chance of making it to the top. Which of these artists belongs at the top of the list? Aaron Copland? Sergei Prokofiev?

All important, significant and iconic names in 20th century classical music music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new 20th century classical music bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of 20th century classical music, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into 20th century classical music music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good 20th century classical music bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent 20th century classical music bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best 20th century classical music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest 20th century classical music musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular 20th century classical music bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

Share this list with your friends to see if their votes change the order of the list. (222 items)

1
35 10
Maurice Ravel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Maurice Ravel Opera, Ballet, Ballet

2
40 15
Dmitri Shostakovich is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Dmitri Shostakovich Opera, Ballet, Art song

3
37 13
Igor Stravinsky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Igor Stravinsky Opera, Ballet, Chamber music

4
33 11
Sergei Prokofiev is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Sergei Prokofiev Opera, Ballet, Ballet

5
31 10
Claude Debussy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Claude Debussy Ballet, Ballet, Incidental music

6
31 11
Béla Bartók is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Béla Bartók Opera, Ballet, Art song

7
28 9
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
George Gershwin Opera, Musical theatre, Film score

8
25 7
Samuel Barber is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Samuel Barber Opera, Ballet, Art song

9
23 6
Aaron Copland is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Aaron Copland Opera, Ballet, Ballet

10
24 7
Erik Satie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Erik Satie Opera, Ballet, 20th-century classical music

11
22 6
Aram Khachaturian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Aram Khachaturian Ballet, Ballet, Incidental music

12
30 13
Jean Sibelius is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Jean Sibelius Opera, Incidental music, Art song

13
21 7
Francis Poulenc is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Francis Poulenc Ballet, Ballet, Incidental music

14
22 8
Charles Ives is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Charles Ives Art song, Classical music, 20th-century classical music

The Hottest Female Classical Musicians

15
22 8
Ralph Vaughan Williams is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Ralph Vaughan Williams Opera, Ballet, Incidental music

16
15 2
Sergei Rachmaninoff is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
俞汉青 added Sergei Rachmaninoff Opera, Art song, Chamber music

17
23 9
Ottorino Respighi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Ottorino Respighi Opera, Ballet, Art song

18
16 3
Darius Milhaud is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Darius Milhaud Opera, Ballet, Ballet

19
25 11
Leonard Bernstein is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Leonard Bernstein Opera, Ballet, Ballet

20
26 12
Tōru Takemitsu is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Tōru Takemitsu Choral music, Electronic music, Chamber music

21
20 7
Olivier Messiaen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Olivier Messiaen Musique concrète, Classical music, French opera

The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

22
21 8
Heitor Villa-Lobos is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Heitor Villa-Lobos Opera, Ballet, Film score

23
24 11
Alban Berg is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Alban Berg Opera, Serialism, Atonal music

24
23 11
Anton Webern is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Anton Webern Serialism, Atonal music, 20th-century classical music

25
14 3
Bernard Herrmann is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Bernard Herrmann Opera, Film score

26
25 13
Arnold Schoenberg is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Arnold Schoenberg Art song, Chamber music, Classical music

27
15 4
György Ligeti is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
György Ligeti Opera, Chamber music, Film score

28
19 8
Luciano Berio is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Luciano Berio Opera, Ballet, Art song

The Best Classical Pianists in the World

29
22 11
John Williams is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
christian.reichhold added John Williams Romance, Classical music, Jazz

30
18 8
Benjamin Britten is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Benjamin Britten Opera, Ballet, Ballet

31
21 11
Pierre Boulez is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Pierre Boulez Musique concrète, Contemporary classical music, Serialism

32
13 4
Ernest Bloch is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Ernest Bloch Opera, 20th-century classical music

33
14 5
Alfred Schnittke is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Alfred Schnittke Christian music, Opera, Ballet

34
14 5
Arthur Honegger is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Arthur Honegger Musique concrète, Opera, Ballet

35
15 6
Carl Orff is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Carl Orff Opera, 20th-century classical music

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
16 7
Rodion Shchedrin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Rodion Shchedrin Opera, Ballet, Chamber music

37
18 9
Roy Harris is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Roy Harris 20th-century classical music

38
11 3
Erich Wolfgang Korngold is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Opera, Film score, 20th-century classical music

39
12 4
Carl Davis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Carl Davis Ballet, 20th-century classical music

40
13 5
William Walton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
William Walton Opera, Ballet, 20th-century classical music

41
15 7
Arturo Toscanini is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Arturo Toscanini Classical music, 20th-century classical music

42
16 8
Glenn Gould is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Rachael Snell added Glenn Gould Classical music

The Most Famous Classical Guitarists

43
16 8
Sofia Gubaidulina is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Sofia Gubaidulina Contemporary classical music, 20th-century classical music

44
17 9
Edgard Varèse is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Edgard Varèse Musique concrète, Experimental classical music, Avant-garde music

45
9 2
Henri Dutilleux is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Max-Olivier Brotonne added Henri Dutilleux Ballet

46
10 3
Frank Martin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Frank Martin Opera, Ballet, Chamber music

47
10 3
André Jolivet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
André Jolivet Opera, Ballet, Incidental music

48
10 3
George Enescu is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
RazvanPop added George Enescu Opera, Classical music

49
11 4
Ferruccio Busoni is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Ferruccio Busoni Opera, Chamber music, 20th-century classical music

50
14 7
Wolfgang Rihm is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best 20th Century Classical Musicians
Wolfgang Rihm Opera, Ballet, Chamber music