Back to Main Page

Notable Twentieth-Century Composers (1900 – 1975)

If you wish to be generally familiar with classical music, here is a short list of composers you should know from this period.

NameBirthDeathNationalityRepresentative Pieces
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, & Celesta
Miraculous Mandarin (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)
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)
Copland, Aaron
 ML410 .C756
19001990AmericanAppalachian Spring (both 13 player and full orchestra)
Third Symphony (orchestra)
Piano Variations (piano solo)
Organ Symphony (organ & orchestra)
Debussy, Claude
 ML410 .D28
18621918FrenchPrelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (orchestra)
Preludes Books I & II (piano)
Pelleas et Mellisande (opera)
Gershwin, George
 ML410 .G288
18981937AmericanPorgy and Bess (opera)
Rhapsody in Blue (piano & orchestra)
Cuban Overture (orchestra)
An American in Paris (orchestra)
Grainger, Percy
 ML410 .G75
18821961Australian-AmericanLincolnshire Posy (band)
Country Gardens (piano)
Train Music (piano or 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)
Ives, Charles
 ML410 .I94
18741954AmericanThird Symphony (orchestra)
Unanswered Question (chamber orchestra)
Concord Sonata (piano solo)
General Booth Enters Heaven (voice & piano)
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)
Orff, Carl
 ML410 .O65
18951982GermanCarmina Burana (soloists, chorus & 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)
Ravel, Maurice
 ML410 .R23
18751937FrenchDaphnis et Chloé (ballet)
Bolero (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)
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)
Varèse, Edgard
 ML410 .V27
18831965French-AmericanIonisation (percussion ensemble)
Ameriques (orchestra)
Poeme Electronique (multi-channel tape)
Density 21.5 (flute solo)