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Contemporary Classical Composers (1975 – present)

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
Adams, John
 ML410 .A233
1947 AmericanNixon in China (opera)
Short Ride in a Fast Machine (orchestra)
Phyrgian Gates (piano solo)
Argento, Dominick1927 AmericanFrom the Diary of Virginia Woolf (voice & piano)
Evensong (soprano, choir, & orchestra)
Postcard from Morocco (opera)
Berio, Luciano19252003ItalianSinfonia (orchestra & 8 singers)
Visage (tape)
Sequenza VIII (violin)
Birtwistle, Harrison1934 BritishThe Mask of Orpheus (opera)
Gawain’s Journey (orchestra)
Bolcom, William1938 AmericanSongs of Innocence and Experience (choirs & orchestra)
Chen, Yi1953 ChineseSuite for Cello and Chamber Winds (chamber ensemble)
Colgrass, Michael1932 American / CanadianWinds of Nagual (wind ensemble)
Urban Requiem (4 saxophones & wind ensemble)
Corigliano, John1938 AmericanGhosts of Versailles (opera)
The Red Violin (film score)
Symphony No. 2
Crumb, George1929 AmericanMakrokosmos (amplified piano)
Ancient Voices of Children (soprano & chamber)
A Haunted Landscape (orchestra)
Danielpour, Richard1956 AmericanFirst Light (chamber ensemble)
An American Requiem (opera)
Daugherty, Michael1954 AmericanMetropolis Symphony (orchestra)
Deus ex Machina (piano & orchestra)
Del Tredici, David1937 AmericanChild Alice (soprano & orchestra)
Ballad in Lavender (piano)
Dun, Tan1957 ChineseWater Concerto (chorus, orchestra, & water percussion)
Out of Peking Opera (violin & orchestra)
Glass, Philip
 ML410 .G398
1937 AmericanEinstein on the Beach (opera)
Satyagraha (opera)
Glassworks (chamber ensemble)
Photographer (theatre piece)
Koyaanisqatsi (film score)
Górecki, Henryk19332010PolishSymphony No. 3 “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”
Kleines Requiem für eine Polka (piano & chamber ensemble)
Higdon, Jennifer1962 AmericanViolin Concerto (violin & orchestra)
Piano Trio (violin, cello, & piano)
Iannaccone, Anthony1943 AmericanApparitions (Band)
Two-Piano Inventions
Kernis, Aaron Jay
 ML410 .K47
1960 AmericanString Quartet No. 2 “Musica Intrumentalis”
Symphony in Waves (orchestra)
Larsen, Libby1950 AmericanDancing Solo (clarinet)
Chanting to Paradise (soprano & piano)
A Lover’s Journey (choral)
Ligeti, Gyorgy
 ML410 .L645
19232006Hungarian-AustrianPiano Etudes (piano solo)
Lux Aeterna (choral)
Atmospheres (orchestra)
Lucier, Alvin1931 AmericanFragments (string quartet)
I Am Sitting in a Room (tape)
Music on a Long Thin Wire (electronic)
Machover, Tod1953 AmericanTowards the Center (6 instruments and live computer electronics)
Death and the Powers (opera)
Hyperstring Trilogy (hyperviolin, hyperviola, hypercello, & chamber orchestra)
MacMillan, James1959 ScottishVeni, Veni Emmanuel (percussion & orchestra)
7 Last Words from the Cross (chorus & chamber orchestra)
Maxwell Davies, Peter
 ML410 .D254
1934 EnglishSymphony No. 10 (orchestra)
An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise (orchestra & bagpipes)
Monk, Meredith
 ML410 .M72
1942 AmericanSongs of Ascension (vocalist & string quartet)
Atlas (opera)
Oliveros, Pauline19322016AmericanSound Patterns (choir)
The Ready Made Boomerang (chamber ensemble)
Pärt, Arvo
 ML410 .P1755
1935 EstonianFratres (chamber ensemble)
Magnificat (a cappella choir)
Für Alina (piano)
Penderecki, Krzysztof1933 PolishThrenody for the Victims of Hiroshima (string orchestra)
Violin Concerto No. 1 (violin & orchestra)
De Natura Sonoris No. 1 & 2 (orchestra)
Reich, Steve1936 AmericanCome Out (tape piece)
Music for 18 Musicians (mixed chamber ensemble)
Pendulum Music (4 performers)
Clapping Music (2 performers)
Riley, Terry
 ML410 .R499
1935 AmericanIn C (any number of performers)
A Rainbow in Curved Air (keyboards & percussion)
Rorem, Ned
 ML410 .R693
1923 AmericanSymphony No. 3 (orchestra)
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (voice & piano)
Saariaho, Kaija
 ML410 .S114
1952 FinnishJardin Secret No. 1 (electronic music)
Laterna Magica (orchestra)
Schelle, Michael1950 AmericanThe End of the World (symphonic band)
Wright Flight (piano and orchestra)
Schickele, Peter1935 AmericanPDQ Bach compositions
Symphony No. 1 “Songlines”
String Quartet No. 5
A Year in the Catskills (woodwind quintet)
Schuller, Gunther1925 AmericanGrand Concerto (100 percussionists and keyboards)
Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee (orchestra)
Schwantner, Joseph1943 AmericanAnd the Mountains Rising Nowhere (wind ensemble)
Sparrows (soprano & chamber ensemble)
Chasing Light (orchestra)
Stockhausen, Karlheinz
 ML410 .S858
19282007GermanGesang der Jünglinge (electronic & concrete music)
Klavierstücke IX (piano solo)
Kontakte (electronic sounds, piano, & percussion)
Gruppen (3 orchestras)
Subotnick, Morton1933 AmericanSilver Apples of the Moon (electronic music)
All My Hummingbirds Have Alibis (interactive orchestra and electronic)
Tavener, John1944 BritishMahashakti (violin and orchestra)
Ikon of Light (two choirs and chamber ensemble)
Tower, Joan1938 AmericanPetroushskates (chamber ensemble)
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (brass and orchestra)
Whitacre, Eric1970 AmericanLux Aurumque (virtual choir)
Ghost Train Triptych (wind symphony)
Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings (musical theatre)
Wolff, Christian1934 AmericanExercises (chamber)
Keyboard Miscellany (piano)
Wuorinen, Charles1938 AmericanArchaeopteryx (bass trombone & chamber ensemble)
Mass for the Restoration of St. Luke in the Fields (chorus & orchestra)
Orchestral and Electronic Exchanges (orchestra & tape)
Xenakis, Iannis19222001GreekMetastasis (orchestra)
Pleiades (percussion)
Young, La Monte1935 AmericanFive Small Pieces (string quartet)
The Well-Tuned Piano (solo)
Zwilich, Ellen Taaffe1939 AmericanSymphony No. 2 “Cello”
Rituals (5 percussionists & orchestra)