READ

Famous Composers from France

Reference
Updated June 14, 2019 16.8k views 237 items

List of notable or famous composers from France, with bios and photos, including the top composers born in France and even some popular composers who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French composers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These composers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known composer from France is included when available.

List people include Francis Poulenc, Jean-Baptiste Lully and many more.

This historic composers from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French composers of note?" and "Who are the most famous composers from France?" These prominent composers of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French composers.

Use this list of renowned French composers to discover some new composers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (237 items)
1
Frédéric C... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 39 (1810-1849)

Birthplace: Żelazowa Wola, Poland

Frédéric François Chopin (, also UK: , US: , French: [ʃɔpɛ̃], Polish: [ˈʂɔpɛn]; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic ...more

More Frédéric Chopin 

#25 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #218 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #5 of 362 The Best Classical Composers

2
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 66 (1712-1778)

Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (UK: , US: ; French: [ʒɑ̃ˈʒak ʁuˈso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the ...more

More Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

The Best Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes #144 of 307 The Best Novelists of All Time #260 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time

3
Claude Debussy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 56 (1862-1918)

Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

(Achille) Claude Debussy (French: [aʃil klod dəbysi]; 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously ...more

More Claude Debussy 

#85 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #9 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #341 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time

4
Francis Poulenc is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 64 (1899-1963)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (French: [fʁɑ̃sis ʒɑ̃ maʁsɛl pulɛ̃k]; 7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, ...more

More Francis Poulenc 

#1,037 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #77 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #632 of 846 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

5
Hector Berlioz is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 66 (1803-1869)

Birthplace: La Côte-Saint-André, France

Louis-Hector Berlioz (, French: [ɛktɔʁ bɛʁljoz]; 11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer. His output includes orchestral works such as the Symphonie fantastique and ...more
6
Jean-Baptiste Lully is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 55 (1632-1687)

Birthplace: Florence, Italy

Jean-Baptiste Lully (UK: , US: ; French: [ʒɑ̃ baˈtist lyˈli]; born Giovanni Battista Lulli, Italian: [ˈlulli]; 28 November [O.S. 18 November] 1632– 22 March 1687) was an Italian-born French ...more

More Jean-Baptiste Lully 

#498 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #59 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #16 of 44 The Best Baroque Composers, Ranked

7
Georges Bizet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 37 (1838-1875)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Georges Bizet (UK: BEE-zay, US: bee-ZAY, French: [ʒɔʁʒ bizɛ]; 25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875), registered at birth as Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer of the ...more

More Georges Bizet 

#244 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #25 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #929 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time

8
Guillaume de Machaut is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Composers from France
Guillaume de Machaut Dec. at 77 (1300-1377)

Birthplace: Reims, France

Guillaume de Machaut (French: [gijom də maʃo]; sometimes spelled Machault; c. 1300 – April 1377) was a medieval French poet and composer. He is regarded by many musicologists as the greatest and ...more
9
Pierre Boulez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Composers from France
Age: 93

Birthplace: Montbrison, France

Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez CBE (French: [pjɛʁ lwi ʒozεf bulɛz]; 26 March 1925 – 5 January 2016) was a French composer, conductor, writer and creator of musical institutions. He was one of the ...more
10
Erik Satie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 59 (1866-1925)

Birthplace: Honfleur, France

Éric Alfred Leslie Satie (French: [eʁik sati]; 17 May 1866 – 1 July 1925), who signed his name Erik Satie after 1884, was a French composer and pianist. Satie was an influential artist in ...more

More Erik Satie 

#259 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #48 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #272 of 525 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

11
Maurice Ravel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 62 (1875-1937)

Birthplace: Ciboure, France

Joseph Maurice Ravel (; French: [ʒozɛf mɔʁis ʁavɛl]; 7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder ...more

More Maurice Ravel 

#357 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #24 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #369 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

12
Edgard Varèse is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 82 (1883-1965)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse (French: [ɛdɡaːʁ viktɔːʁ aʃil ʃaʁl vaʁɛːz]; also spelled Edgar Varèse; December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965) was a French-born composer who ...more
13
Camille Saint-Saëns... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 86 (1835-1921)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (French: [ʃaʁl kamij sɛ̃ sɑ̃(s)]; 9 October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. His best-known ...more

More Camille Saint-Saëns 

#395 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #39 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #665 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

14
Gabriel Fauré is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 79 (1845-1924)

Birthplace: Pamiers, France

Gabriel Urbain Fauré (French: [ɡabʁiɛl yʁbɛ̃ fɔʁe]; 12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his ...more

More Gabriel Fauré 

#374 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #47 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #19 of 27 Musicians Who Would Make the Best Artists

15
Jacques Offenbach is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 61 (1819-1880)

Birthplace: Cologne, Germany

Jacques Offenbach (, also US: , French: [ʒak ɔfɛnbak], German: [ˈɔfn̩bax] (listen); 20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a German-French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He ...more
16
Darius Milhaud is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 82 (1892-1974)

Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France

Darius Milhaud (French: [daʁjys mijo]; 4 September 1892 – 22 June 1974) was a French composer, conductor, and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the ...more
17
Michel Legrand is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Composers from France
Age: 83

Birthplace: France

Michel Jean Legrand (French pronunciation: ​[miʃɛl ləɡʁɑ̃]; 24 February 1932 – 26 January 2019) was a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist. Legrand was a prolific ...more
18
Jean Michel Jarre is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Composers from France
Age: 70

Birthplace: Lyon, France

Jean-Michel André Jarre (French: [ʒɑ̃ miʃɛl ɑ̃dʁe ʒaʁ]; born 24 August 1948) is a French composer, performer and record producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient and new-age ...more

More Jean Michel Jarre 

The Best Jean Michel Jarre Albums of All Time #396 of 2,060 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Famous Accordionists

19
Maurice Jarre is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 85 (1924-2009)

Birthplace: Lyon, France

Maurice-Alexis Jarre (French: [ʒaʁ]; 13 September 1924 – 28 March 2009) was a French composer and conductor, "one of the giants of 20th-century film music" who was "among the most ...more
20
Charles Gounod is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 75 (1818-1893)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Charles-François Gounod (; French: [ʃaʁl fʁɑ̃swa ɡuno]; 17 June 1818 – 17 or 18 October 1893) was a French composer, best known for his Ave Maria, based on a work by Bach, as well as his ...more

More Charles Gounod 

#96 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #130 of 142 Bygone Musicians You Most Want to See Perform as Holograms #14 of 34 The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked

21
Charles-Valentin Alkan ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 75 (1813-1888)

Birthplace: Paris, France

Charles-Valentin Alkan (French: [ʃaʁl valɑ̃tɛ̃ alkɑ̃]; 30 November 1813 – 29 March 1888) was a French-Jewish composer and virtuoso pianist. At the height of his fame in the 1830s and 1840s he ...more

More Charles-Valentin Alkan 

#228 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #75 of 177 The Greatest Pianists Ever #93 of 153 The Greatest Classical Pianists of All Time

22
Arthur H is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Composers from France
Age: 52

Birthplace: France, Paris

Arthur Higelin (27 March 1966), better known under his stage name Arthur H [aʁtyʁ ɑːʃ], is a pianist, songwriter and singer. He is best known in France for his live performances—four of his ...more

More Arthur H 

#328 of 392 The Best Electronica Artists #45 of 69 The Best French Pop Groups/Artists

23
Vladimir Cosma is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Composers from France
Age: 78

Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania

Vladimir Cosma (born 13 April 1940) is a Romanian-born French composer, conductor and violinist. He was born into a family of musicians. His father, Teodor Cosma, was a pianist and conductor, ...more
24
Era is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Composers from France
Era (styled as +eRa+, acronym for “Enminential Rhythm of the Ancestors”) is a New-Age music project by French composer Eric Lévi. They use lyrics (by Guy Protheroe) which, although ...more
25
Jean Françaix is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Composers from France
Dec. at 85 (1912-1997)

Birthplace: Le Mans, France

Jean René Désiré Françaix (French: [fʁɑ̃sɛ]; 23 May 1912 in Le Mans – 25 September 1997 in Paris) was a French neoclassical composer, pianist, and orchestrator, known ...more

More Jean Françaix 

#343 of 362 The Best Classical Composers #112 of 215 The Best Ballet Composers #150 of 231 The Best Opera Composers