Music

List of Famous Music Directors

List of famous music directors, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top music directors in the world? This includes the most prominent music directors, living and dead, both in America and abroad. Many of the top music directors are also featured on the best Indian music directors of all time and the most famous female music directors. This list of notable music directors is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic music directors were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned music directors.

The list you're viewing contains popular musical directors and conductors like Leonard Bernstein, A. R. Rahman, and Gustav Mahler.

From reputable, prominent, and well known music directors to the lesser known music directors of today, these are some of the best professionals in the music director field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous music directors ever?" and "What are the names of famous music directors?" then you're in the right place. 

  • Leonard Bernstein ( BURN-styne; August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in ...more
  • Allahrakka Rahman pronunciation ; born A. S. Dileep Kumar) known professionally as A. R. Rahman, is an Indian music director, singer and music producer. His works are noted for integrating Indian ...more
  • Wynton Learson Marsalis (born October 18, 1961) is an American virtuoso trumpeter, composer, teacher, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has promoted classical and jazz music, often ...more
  • Ilaiyaraaja (born Gnanathesikan; 2 June 1943) is an Indian film composer, singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, orchestrator, conductor-arranger and lyricist who works in the Indian Film Industry, ...more
  • Ennio Morricone (November 10, 1928 – July 6, 2020) was an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and trumpet player who wrote music in a wide range of styles. Morricone composed over 400 scores ...more
  • Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM (born November 28, 1949) is a Canadian singer, composer, actor, author, comedian and multi-instrumentalist who served as David Letterman's musical director, band leader ...more
  • Yuvan Shankar Raja (born 31 August 1979) is an Indian film score and soundtrack composer and singer-songwriter. He predominantly scores music for Tamil films. Being the youngest son of the legendary ...more
  • André George Previn, (; born Andreas Ludwig Priwin; April 6, 1929 – February 28, 2019) was a German-American pianist, composer, arranger, and conductor. His career was three-pronged. Starting by ...more
  • Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (born 4 June 1946) mostly referred to as S. P. B. or Balu is an Indian playback singer, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer who works ...more
  • Sergiu Celibidache (Romanian: [ˈserdʒju tʃelibiˈdake]; 11 July [O.S. 28 June] 1912, Roman, Romania – 14 August 1996, La Neuville-sur-Essonne, France) was a Romanian conductor, composer, musical ...more
  • 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 Harold in ...more
  • Sir Simon Denis Rattle (born 19 January 1955) is a British conductor. He rose to international prominence during the 1980s and 1990s, while Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony ...more
  • Claudio Abbado, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [ˈklaudjo abˈbaːdo]; 26 June 1933 – 20 January 2014) was an Italian conductor. One of the most celebrated and respected conductors ...more
  • Herbert von Karajan (German: [ˈhɛɐbɛɐt fɔn ˈkaraˌjan] (listen); born Heribert Ritter von Karajan; 5 April 1908 – 16 July 1989) was an Austrian conductor. He was principal conductor of the Berlin ...more
  • Gustav Heinrich Ernst Martin Wilhelm Furtwängler (UK: FOORT-veng-glər, US: -⁠lər, German: [ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈfʊɐ̯tvɛŋlɐ]; January 25, 1886 – November 30, 1954) was a German conductor and composer. He is ...more
  • Richard Georg Strauss (German pronunciation: [ˈʁɪçaɐ̯t ˈʃtʁaʊs]; 11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, ...more
  • Leopold Anthony Stokowski (18 April 1882 – 13 September 1977) was an English conductor of Polish descent. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th century, he is best known for his ...more
  • Arturo Toscanini (, Italian: [arˈtuːro toskaˈniːni]; March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, ...more
  • Gustav Mahler (German: [ˈmaːlɐ]; 7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge ...more
  • Walt Levinsky was an American big band and orchestral player, composer, arranger and band leader. While many of his big band assignments were as lead alto sax player, his favorite instrument was the ...more
  • Sajid–Wajid is a Hindi music composer duo consisting of brothers Sajid Ali and Wajid Ali. Sajid Ali and Wajid Ali are the sons of Ustad Sharafat Kha, a tabla player. Actress and singer Salma Agha is ...more
  • Marc Shaiman (; born October 22, 1959) is an American composer and lyricist for films, television, and theatre, best known for his collaborations with lyricist and director Scott Wittman. He wrote ...more
  • Harris Jayaraj (born 8 January 1975) is an Indian film composer from Chennai , Tamil Nadu. He composes soundtracks predominantly for Tamil films, while also having composed for a few films in Telugu ...more
  • Michael Tilson Thomas (born December 21, 1944) is an American conductor, pianist and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, and artistic director of the New World ...more
  • Daryl Lynn Coley (October 30, 1955 – March 15, 2016) was an American Christian singer. At 14, Coley was a member of the ensemble "Helen Stephens and the Voices of Christ". He began performing with ...more