Composers The Best Modern Composers, Ranked  

Ranker Music
2.8k votes 731 voters 14.9k views 52 items

List Rules Vote up who you think are the greatest modern composers

The best modern composers come from all around the world, from every walk of life. This is a list of these wonderful musicians, true icons of the Classical music world, ranked from best to worst by music lovers everywhere. From famous modern composers that have written some of the most iconic soundtracks to some of the greatest movies of all time, to lesser know classical musicians that have made a career in symphony orchestras all over the globe, this list should have something for everyone.

What names will you find on this best modern composers list? Danny Elfman has to be mentioned among the most talented composers of all time. First rising to popularity in the band Oingo Boingo, Elfman went on to compose such memorable pieces as the themes from The Simpsons, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman. John Williams is another great composer from modern times. If you prefer jazzier tunes, give a listen to the composer and multi-instrumentalist Keith Jarrett. Other good musicians that are featured on this top modern composers list include Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman and Alexandre Desplat.

Who is the best modern composer? Be sure to vote them up and let your voice be heard!
list ordered by

1
247 103
John Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Jurassic Park, Superman: The Movie, Jaws

2
239 105
Hans Zimmer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Gladiator: More Music From the Motion Picture, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

3
115 68
Howard Shore is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Aviator

4
106 64
Ennio Morricone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Once Upon a Time in America, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

5
73 51
James Horner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Deep Impact, Braveheart, Aliens

6
64 48
Alan Silvestri is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Back to the Future: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack, Forrest Gump: Original Motion Picture Score, Back to the Future

7
37 24
Yanni is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Dare to Dream, Out of Silence, Optimystique - Absolutly amazing composer

8
67 54
Ramin Djawadi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Iron Man, Red Dawn, Prison Break

9
52 41
Michael Giacchino is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JaredJohns added Cars 2, Up, Star Trek - Known for his compositions in Sci-Fi (Star Trek, Star Wars, MCU, Planet of the Apes) and Animated films (Ratatouille, Cars, Up).

10
61 52
Danny Elfman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Edward Scissorhands

11
37 28
Thomas J. Bergersen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Thomas J. Bergersen Halloween, A Place In Heaven (, <3

12
32 26
Ludovico Einaudi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
PaulinaKucza added Nightbook, Waves: The Piano Collection, Diario Mali

13
27 21
Nobuo Uematsu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
1514152840126 added Final Fantasy III: Original Sound Version, Final Fantasy VIII: Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec, Music of Final Fantasy I and II - Important mentions: Opera Maria & Draco, Dancing Mad, Liberi Fatali, One Winged Angel

14
37 33
Thomas Newman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
American Beauty, WALL·E, The Shawshank Redemption

15
26 23
Martin O'Donnell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JaredJohns added Martin O'Donnell Halo 3, Halo 2 Original Soundtrack, Halo

16
34 32
Alexandre Desplat is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Lust, Caution, The Queen

17
32 30
James Newton Howard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Dark Knight, Restoration

18
20 17
Arvo Pärt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JerryMuzsik added Cello Concerto / Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (Bamberg Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor Neeme Jarvi), Fratres (Hungarian State Opera Orchestra feat. conductor Tamás Benedek), Alina

19
31 30
Bernard Herrmann is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Psycho: Complete Original Motion Picture Score, Vertigo, The Planets

20
17 15
Yann Tiersen is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Amélie, Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright, Rue des cascades - Look up porz goret

21
7 5
Joe Hisaishi is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Nick Forkin added Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro Soundtrack Collection, Princess Mononoke

22
3 2
Lera Auerbach is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
rafael1 added Preludes and Dreams, 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano / T'filah / Postlude (feat. violin: Vadim Gluzman, piano: Angela Yoffe)

23
3 2
Jeremy Soule is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
tactundra added Jeremy Soule Guild Wars 2: Original Game Soundtrack, Secret of Evermore, Icewind Dale - Jeremy Soule is an American composer. He has been described as the "John Williams of video game music". Notable works include the original soundtracks for The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, as well as ...

24
12 13
Bear McCreary is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Luke Albright added Battlestar Galactica: Season 1, Battlestar Galactica: Season 2, Battlestar Galactica: Season 3

25
15 17
Rachel Portman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Original Motion Picture Score, Chocolat

26
12 14
Shigeru Umebayashi is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hannah Rachel Ulep added Jet Li's Fearless, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower

27
2 3
Pēteris Vasks is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Calvin George added Pēteris Vasks Concerto for Violin & Wind Orchestra, op. 12 / Concerto for Violin & String Orchestra "Distant Light", Plainscapes

28
18 23
Samantha Bouquin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added

29
3 5
Keith Green is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Oh Lord, You're Beautiful: Songs of Worship, The Ministry Years

30
10 14
natasha nightingale is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added natasha nightingale

31
10 14
Elizabeth Fawn is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added Elizabeth Fawn

32
10 14
Abandoned Toys is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
deniseroddenstine added The Witch's Garden

33
12 17
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Belonging, Personal Mountains, La Scala

34
2 5
Aleksey Igudesman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
LX Igu added

35
5 10
Eric Ewazen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Wheatie added Sejong Plays Ewazen

36
1 5
Robert Chastain is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Bobby Chastain added Robert Chastain

37
7 13
Abel Korzeniowski is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hannah Rachel Ulep added Copernicus' Star, Romeo & Juliet, Escape From Tomorrow

38
3 8
Edward Simon is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Luke Albright added One of the most talented jazz composers I know, (the only one I know personally).  I went to school with his son, and we've been friends a long time. 

39
12 20
Roger Zare is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Roger Zare

40
8 15
David T. Little is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David T. Little

41
8 15
Carla Scaletti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Carla Scaletti

42
7 14
Leon Stein is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Leon Stein

43
3 9
Antonio Kowatsch is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
martinhiltz added Antonio Kowatsch

44
10 19
Frank La Rocca is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Frank La Rocca

45
8 17
Peter Traub is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked

46
5 13
Klemens Vereno is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
DanielCV added Klemens Vereno Klemens Vereno is an austrian composer and conductor born in Salzburg in 1957. 

47
5 13
David Ludwig is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ludwig Choral Music of David Ludwig

48
5 13
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jimmosk added Joan Tower Thirteen Ways, Made in America / Tambor / Concerto for Orchestra (Nashville Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Leonard Slatkin), Silver Ladders/Island Prelude/Music for Cello and Orchestra/Sequoia (St. Louis Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor Leonard Slatkin)

49
4 12
David Ott is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ott Symphony No. 2 / Symphony No. 3 (Grand Rapids Symphony feat. conductor: Catherine Comet)

50
3 11
Tale Ognenovski is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
stevan-ognenovski added