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Twentieth-Century Composers (1900 – 1975)

If you are a student of Music History or Composition, here is a more detailed list of composers you should know from this period.

NameBirthDeathNationalityRepresentative Pieces
Antheil, George
 ML410 .A638
19001959AmericanBallet Mecanique (12 pianos, percussion, chamber)
Babbitt, Milton19162011 AmericanWhirled Series (saxophone & piano)
Homily (snare drum)
Barber, Samuel
 ML410 .B23
19101981AmericanAdagio for Strings (check out original String Quartet)
Knoxville Summer 1915 (soprano & orchestra)
Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance (orchestra)
Three Essays for Orchestra
Bartók, Béla
 ML410 .B26
18811945HungarianSix string quartets (all)
Mikrokosmos (piano solos)
Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion
Music for Strings, Percussion, & Celeste
Miraculous Mandarin (orchestra)
Berg, Alban
 ML410 .B47
18851935AustrianLyric Suite (string quartet)
Wozzeck (opera)
Violin Concerto (violin & orchestra)
Bernstein, Leonard
 ML410 .B566
19181990AmericanWest Side Story (musical)
Mass (a theatre piece)
Serenade (violin & orchestra)
Jeremiah Symphony (orchestra)
Chichester Psalms (chorus & orchestra)
On the Waterfront (film score)
Boulez, Pierre
 ML410 .B773
1925 FrenchPli selon pli (soprano & orchestra)
Structures (2 pianos)
La marteau sans maitre (alto & chamber group)
Britten, Benjamin
 ML410 .B853
19131976EnglishWar Requiem (chorus, soloists & orchestra)
Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (narrator & orchestra)
Peter Grimes (opera)
Cage, John
 ML410 .C24
19121992AmericanSonatas & Interludes for Prepared Piano
Aria (with or without Fontana Mix) (voice with tape)
4’33” (piano solo)
Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (12 analog radios)
Carter, Elliott
 ML410 .C3293
1908 2012AmericanEight Etudes and a Fantasy (woodwind quartet)
Concerto for Orchestra (orchestra)
Second String Quartet (string quartet)
Childs, Barney19262000AmericanA Box of View (woodwind quintet)
Trombone Sonata
Copland, Aaron
 ML410 .C756
19001990AmericanAppalachian Spring (both 13 player and full orchestra)
Third Symphony (orchestra)
Piano Variations (piano solo)
Organ Symphony (organ & orchestra)
Cowell, Henry18971965AmericanBanshee (piano solo)
Aeolian Harp (piano solo)
Debussy, Claude
 ML410 .D28
18621918FrenchPrelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (orchestra)
Preludes Books I & II (piano)
Pelleas et Mellisande (opera)
Ellington, Duke
 ML410 .E44
18991974AmericanAnatomy of a Murder (film score)
Black, Brown, and Beige (jazz symphony)
Feldman, Morton19261987AmericanString Quartet
Rothko Chapel (chamber & vocals)
Foss, Lukas19222009German-AmericanString Quartet No. 1
Baroque Variations (orchestra)
Franchetti, Arnold19111993Italian-AmericanMarried Men Go to Hell (opera)
Three Italian Masques (octet)
Gershwin, George
 ML410 .G288
18981937AmericanPorgy and Bess (opera)
Rhapsody in Blue (piano & orchestra)
Cuban Overture (orchestra)
An American in Paris (orchestra)
Ginastera, Alberto19161983ArgentineDanzas argentinas (piano)
Piano Concerto No. 1
Gould, Morton
 ML410 .G695
19131996AmericanStringmusic (orchestra)
Fall River Legend (ballet)
Grainger, Percy
 ML410 .G75
18821961Australian-AmericanLincolnshire Posy (band)
Country Gardens (piano)
Train Music (piano or orchestra)
Hanson, Howard18961981AmericanSymphony No. 2 “Romantic”
Merry Mount (opera)
Henze, Hans Werner19262012GermanNew Folk Songs and Shepherd’s Melodies (chamber ensemble)
Das Wundertheater (opera)
The Raft of Medusa (soloists, choir, & orchestra)
Hindemith, Paul
 ML410 .H685
18951963GermanMathis der Maler (opera)
Ludus Tonalis (piano solo)
Symphonic Metamorphosis (orchestra)
Holst, Gustav
 ML410 .H748
18741934EnglishThe Planets (orchestra)
2 Suites for Military Band
Evening-Watch (chorus and orchestra)
Honegger, Arthur
 ML410 .H79
18921955Swiss / FrenchPacific 231 (orchestra)
Le Roy David (oratorio)
Hovhaness, Alan19112000Armenian-AmericanSymphony No. 60 “To the Appalachian Mountains” (orchestra)
And God Created Great Whales (orchestra & tape)
Husa, Karel1921 Czech-AmericanMusic for Prague 1968 (orchestra – also transcribed for wind ensemble)
String Quartet No. 3
Ives, Charles
 ML410 .I94
18741954AmericanThird Symphony (orchestra)
Unanswered Question (chamber orchestra)
Concord Sonata (piano solo)
General Booth Enters Heaven (voice & piano)
Janáček, Leoš
 ML410 .J18
18541928CzechTaras Bulba (orchestra)
Glagolitic Mass (chorus and orchestra)
Lehár, Franz
 ML410 .L42
18701948Austro-HungarianGold and Silver (waltz for orchestra)
The Merry Widow (opera)
Luening, Otto
 ML410 .L947
19001996German-AmericanLow Speed (tape)
Concertino (flute & orchestra)
Lutoslawski, Witold
 ML410 .L965
19131994PolishPiano Concerto (piano & orchestra)
Concerto for Orchestra (orchestra)
Jeux Vénitiens (Venetian Games) (chamber orchestra)
Mayuzumi, Toshiro19291997JapaneseNirvana Symphony (male chorus & orchestra)
Menotti, Gian Carlo
 ML410 .M52
19112007Italian-AmericanAmahl and the Night Visitors (opera)
The Saint of Bleecker Street (opera)
Messiaen, Olivier
 ML410 .M595
19081992FrenchTurangalila Symphony (orchestra & ondes martenot)
Quartet for the End of Time (chamber)
Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jesus (piano solo)
La Nativité du Seigneur (organ)
Milhaud, Darius
 ML410 .M674
18921974FrenchLa Création du Monde (ballet)
Scaramouche (saxophone & orchestra)
Saudades do Brasil (piano)
Nono, Luigi19241990ItalianIl canto sospeso (soloists, chorus & orchestra)
Intolleranza 1960 (opera)
Orff, Carl
 ML410 .O65
18951982GermanCarmina Burana (soloists, chorus & orchestra)
Persichetti, Vincent19151987AmericanSymphony No. 6 (band)
Flower Songs (choir & chamber orchestra)
Hymns and Responses for the Church Year (choir)
Pinkham, Daniel
 ML410 .P5
19232006AmericanChristmas Cantata (choir & orchestra)
Versets (organ)
Poulenc, Francis
 ML410 .P787
18991963FrenchOrgan Concerto (organ & orchestra)
Gloria (choir & orchestra)
Prokofiev, Sergei
 ML410 .P865
18911953RussianPeter and the Wolf (orchestra & narrator)
Third Piano Concerto (piano & orchestra)
Fifth Symphony (orchestra)
Scythian Suite (orchestra)
Love for Three Oranges (opera)
Rachmaninoff, Sergei
 ML410 .R12
18731943RussianPiano Concerto No. 2
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor
Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (choir)
The Isle of the Dead (orchestra)
Ravel, Maurice
 ML410 .R23
18751937FrenchDaphnis et Chloé (ballet)
Bolero (orchestra)
Respighi, Ottorino18791936ItalianLa Fiamma (opera)
The Pines of Rome (orchestra)
Rochberg, George19182005AmericanString Quartet No. 3
Concord Quartets (Nos. 4-6) (string quartet)
Symphony No. 2 (orchestra)
Schoenberg, Arnold
 ML410 .S283
18741951Austrian-AmericanVerklärte Nacht (string sextet)
Gurre-Lieder (soloists, chorus & orchestra)
Pierrot Luniare (chamber with voice)
Survivor from Warsaw (chamber orchestra w/narrator & men’s choir)
Kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 33a&b (piano)
Schuman, William
 ML410 .S386
19101992AmericanA Free Song (cantata)
New England Triptych (orchestra)
Scriabin, Alexander
 ML410 .S5988
18721915RussianPiano Sonata No. 7 “White Mass”
Prometheus: The Poem of Fire (orchestra)
Seeger, Ruth
 ML410 .S4446
19011953American2 Ricercari (voice & piano)
String Quartet 1931
Sessions, Roger
 ML410 .S473
18961985AmericanString Quartet No. 1
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (cantata)
The Black Maskers (orchestra)
Shostakovich, Dmitri
 ML410 .S53
19061975RussianFifth Symphony (orchestra)
Eighth String Quartet (string quartet)
Piano Trio No. 2 in e minor (piano trio)
Strauss, Richard
 ML410 .S93
18641949GermanDer Rosenkavalier (opera)
Salome (opera)
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (orchestra)
Death and Transfiguration (orchestra)
Four Last Songs (voice and orchestra)
Stravinksy, Igor
 ML410 .S932
18821971RussianFirebird (ballet, orchestra)
Petrushka (ballet, orchestra)
Rite of Spring (ballet, orchestra)
Histoire du Soldat (chamber)
Symphony in C (orchestra)
Symphony of Psalms (chorus & orchestra)
In Memorium Dylan Thomas (chamber)
Mass (choral)
Takemitsu, Tōru
 ML410 .T134
19301996JapaneseNovember Steps (orchestra)
Les Yeux Clos I & II (piano solo)
Ran (soundtrack)
Tippett, Michael
 ML410 .T467
19051998EnglishConcerto for Double String Orchestra
A Child of Our Time (chorus and orchestra)
Ussachevsky, Vladimir19111990Russian-American4 Studies (clarinet & tape)
Sonic Contours (tape)
Varèse, Edgard
 ML410 .V27
18831965French-AmericanIonisation (percussion ensemble)
Ameriques (orchestra)
Poeme Electronique (multi-channel tape)
Density 21.5 (flute solo)
Villa-Lobos, Heitor
 ML410 .V76
18871959BrazilianBachianas Brasilieras (various combinations of instruments)
String Quartet No. 6
Webern, Anton
 ML410 .W33
18831945AustrianFive Pieces for Orchestra, op. 10 (orchestra)
String Quartet, op. 28 (string quartet)
Drei Lieder, op. 25 (voice & piano)