Composers The Best Modern Composers, Ranked  

Ranker Music
2.4k votes 637 voters 12.8k views 51 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!

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

2
209 91
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
99 59
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
88 58
Ennio Morricone is listed (or ranked) 4 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

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35 16
Yanni is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Yanni Dare to Dream, Out of Silence, Optimystique - Absolutly amazing composer

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62 47
James Horner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
James Horner Deep Impact, Braveheart, Aliens

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32 23
Thomas J. Bergersen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Thomas J. Bergersen Halloween, A Place In Heaven (, <3

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58 50
Ramin Djawadi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Ramin Djawadi Iron Man, Red Dawn, Prison Break

9
54 46
Alan Silvestri is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
54 49
Danny Elfman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Danny Elfman Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Edward Scissorhands

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43 38
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).

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35 30
Thomas Newman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Thomas Newman American Beauty, WALL·E, The Shawshank Redemption

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21 18
Nobuo Uematsu is listed (or ranked) 13 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

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Yann Tiersen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Yann Tiersen Amélie, Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright, Rue des cascades - Look up porz goret

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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

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30 30
Alexandre Desplat is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Alexandre Desplat Lust^! Caution, The Queen, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows^! Part 2

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

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Bernard Herrmann is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Bernard Herrmann Psycho: Complete Original Motion Picture Score, Vertigo, The Planets

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27 29
James Newton Howard is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
James Newton Howard Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Dark Knight, Restoration

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4 3
Joe Hisaishi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Nick Forkin added Joe Hisaishi Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro Soundtrack Collection, Princess Mononoke

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Arvo Pärt is listed (or ranked) 21 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

The Best Baroque Composers, Ranked

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1 0
Jeremy Soule is listed (or ranked) 22 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 ...

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Shigeru Umebayashi is listed (or ranked) 23 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

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Samantha Bouquin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added Samantha Bouquin

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13 15
Rachel Portman is listed (or ranked) 25 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

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1 1
Pēteris Vasks is listed (or ranked) 26 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

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Elizabeth Fawn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added Elizabeth Fawn

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natasha nightingale is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
vistacorran added natasha nightingale

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Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Keith Jarrett Belonging, Personal Mountains, La Scala

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Aleksey Igudesman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
LX Igu added Aleksey Igudesman

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Abandoned Toys is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
deniseroddenstine added Abandoned Toys The Witch's Garden

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Bear McCreary is listed (or ranked) 32 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

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Keith Green is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
ElijahBrents added Keith Green Oh Lord, You're Beautiful: Songs of Worship, The Ministry Years

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Eric Ewazen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Wheatie added Eric Ewazen Sejong Plays Ewazen

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1 3
Robert Chastain is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Bobby Chastain added Robert Chastain

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Roger Zare is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Roger Zare

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8 13
David T. Little is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David T. Little

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8 13
Carla Scaletti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Carla Scaletti

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Antonio Kowatsch is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
martinhiltz added Antonio Kowatsch

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3 7
Edward Simon is listed (or ranked) 40 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. 

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Frank La Rocca is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Frank La Rocca

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6 12
Leon Stein is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Leon Stein

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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. 

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5 11
David Ludwig is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ludwig Choral Music of David Ludwig

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5 11
Abel Korzeniowski is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Hannah Rachel Ulep added Abel Korzeniowski Copernicus' Star, Romeo & Juliet, Escape From Tomorrow

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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)

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8 15
Peter Traub is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked

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4 10
David Ott is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
David Ott Symphony No. 2 / Symphony No. 3 (Grand Rapids Symphony feat. conductor: Catherine Comet)

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Tale Ognenovski is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
stevan-ognenovski added Tale Ognenovski

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7 15
Robert Manno is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Modern Composers, Ranked
Robert Manno