Classical Composers

There is a huge list of Classical composers on Wikipedia – most of them I had not even heard of.  Many are Italian or German. The prominence of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven is even more striking when you consider just how many other composers were active during that era.  Here is a shortlist of some of the more famous ones:

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788) – second son of Johann Sebastian
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787)
  • Johann Christian Bach (1735–1782) – youngest son of Johann Sebastian
  • Elisabetta de Gambarini (1731–1765)
  • Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805)
  • Antonio Salieri (1750–1825)
  • Muzio Clementi (1752–1832)
  • Friedrich Heinrich Himmel (1765–1814)


Luigi Boccherini was a virtuoso cellist and wrote a large amount of music for the instrument, including 12 concertos.  He also wrote many symphonies and chamber music works.  The composer was born in Italy and spent some time in the musical centre of Europe, Vienna, before moving to Madrid where like many composers he served the Royal court. The heritage of Spanish culture can be seen in his music, and he wrote a number of pieces for guitar.  He was known to have been strongly influenced by Haydn in particular, who was born a decade earlier. I have made notes on some of his pieces here.


I have come across the name of Antonio Salieri several times during my reading and research for this course – he was the director of the Italian Opera and had a big influence on the development of this genre.  He had a direct connection with Mozart, who was said to have been his biggest rival (they were of a similar age), and also became Beethoven’s teacher.  He wrote some sacred music, a small number of instrumental works, and 37 operas.  The works of both of these composers were not often played after the end of the eighteenth century, but have seen a revival more recently in the second half of the twentieth. I have made notes on some of his pieces here.


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