composers The Best Modern Composers, Ranked  

Ranker Music
2.2k votes 578 voters 11.1k views 50 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
193 80
John Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
John Williams Jurassic Park, Superman: The Movie, Jaws

2
188 85
Hans Zimmer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hans Zimmer Gladiator: More Music From the Motion Picture, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

3
90 53
Howard Shore is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Howard Shore The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Aviator

4
30 9
Yanni is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Yanni Dare to Dream, Out of Silence, Optimystique - Absolutly amazing composer

5
80 55
Ennio Morricone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Ennio Morricone Once Upon a Time in America, The Good^! the Bad and the Ugly, Duck You^! Sucker

6
53 40
Ramin Djawadi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Ramin Djawadi Iron Man, Red Dawn, Prison Break

7
56 44
James Horner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
James Horner Deep Impact, Braveheart, Aliens

8
28 18
Thomas J. Bergersen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Thomas J. Bergersen Halloween, A Place In Heaven (, <3

9
47 43
Danny Elfman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Danny Elfman Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Edward Scissorhands

10
47 43
Alan Silvestri is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Alan Silvestri Back to the Future: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack, Forrest Gump: Original Motion Picture Score, Back to the Future

11
36 33
Michael Giacchino is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JaredJohns added Michael Giacchino 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).

12
12 8
Yann Tiersen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Yann Tiersen Amélie, Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright, Rue des cascades - Look up porz goret

13
28 28
Thomas Newman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Thomas Newman American Beauty, WALL·E, The Shawshank Redemption

14
27 27
Alexandre Desplat is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Alexandre Desplat Lust^! Caution, The Queen, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows^! Part 2

The Best Baroque Composers, Ranked

15
21 21
Ludovico Einaudi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
PaulinaKucza added Ludovico Einaudi Nightbook, Waves: The Piano Collection, Diario Mali

16
24 25
James Newton Howard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
James Newton Howard Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Dark Knight, Restoration

17
25 27
Bernard Herrmann is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Bernard Herrmann Psycho: Complete Original Motion Picture Score, Vertigo, The Planets

18
17 18
Martin O'Donnell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JaredJohns added Martin O'Donnell Halo 3, Halo 2 Original Soundtrack, Halo

19
18 20
Samantha Bouquin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added Samantha Bouquin

20
12 13
Arvo Pärt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
JerryMuzsik added Arvo Pärt Cello Concerto / Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (Bamberg Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor Neeme Jarvi), Fratres (Hungarian State Opera Orchestra feat. conductor Tamás Benedek), Alina

21
1 0
Pēteris Vasks is listed (or ranked) 21 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, Māte saule

The Greatest One-Hit Wonder Songs of the 70s

22
15 17
Nobuo Uematsu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
1514152840126 added Nobuo Uematsu 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

23
10 11
Elizabeth Fawn is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added Elizabeth Fawn

24
10 11
natasha nightingale is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added natasha nightingale

25
10 11
Abandoned Toys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
deniseroddenstine added Abandoned Toys The Witch's Garden

26
12 14
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Keith Jarrett Belonging, Personal Mountains, La Scala

27
2 2
Aleksey Igudesman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
LX Igu added Aleksey Igudesman

28
2 2
Joe Hisaishi is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Nick Forkin added Joe Hisaishi Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro Soundtrack Collection, Princess Mononoke

21 Musicians Who Are (Supposedly) in the Illuminati

29
9 12
Shigeru Umebayashi is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hannah Rachel Ulep added Shigeru Umebayashi Jet Li's Fearless, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower

30
8 11
Bear McCreary is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Luke Albright added Bear McCreary Battlestar Galactica: Season 1, Battlestar Galactica: Season 2, Battlestar Galactica: Season 3

31
11 15
Rachel Portman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Rachel Portman Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Original Motion Picture Score, Chocolat

32
2 4
Keith Green is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Keith Green Oh Lord, You're Beautiful: Songs of Worship, The Ministry Years

33
1 3
Robert Chastain is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Bobby Chastain added Robert Chastain

34
12 18
Roger Zare is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Roger Zare

35
8 13
David T. Little is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David T. Little

The Greatest Songs by '90s One-Hit Wonders

36
8 13
Carla Scaletti is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Carla Scaletti

37
4 8
Eric Ewazen is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Wheatie added Eric Ewazen Sejong Plays Ewazen

38
3 7
Edward Simon is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Luke Albright added Edward Simon 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
3 7
Antonio Kowatsch is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
martinhiltz added Antonio Kowatsch

40
10 17
Frank La Rocca is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Frank La Rocca

41
6 12
Leon Stein is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Leon Stein

42
5 11
Ranker Video
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)

43
5 11
Klemens Vereno is listed (or ranked) 43 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. 

44
5 11
Abel Korzeniowski is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hannah Rachel Ulep added Abel Korzeniowski Copernicus' Star, Romeo & Juliet, Escape From Tomorrow

45
5 11
David Ludwig is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ludwig Choral Music of David Ludwig

46
8 15
Peter Traub is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked

47
4 10
David Ott is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ott Symphony No. 2 / Symphony No. 3 (Grand Rapids Symphony feat. conductor: Catherine Comet)

48
3 9
Tale Ognenovski is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
stevan-ognenovski added Tale Ognenovski

49
7 15
Robert Manno is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Robert Manno

50
3 13
Judy Dunaway is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Judy Dunaway Judy Dunaway and the Evan Gallagher Little Band, Judy Dunaway, Mother of Balloon Music