Who is your favorite 20th-century composer?

Who is your favorite 20th-century composer?
Here he/she is:
93% (174 votes)
Don't have one.
7% (13 votes)
Total votes: 187

Many "Greatest Composers of the 20th Century" lists would include Copland, Gershwin, et al, but could also include Roy Orbison, Lennon-McCartney, and Scott Joplin. Who is <I>your</I> favorite?

Anonymous's picture


Tony Esporma's picture

I have two: Shostakovich and Frank Zappa.

emilio@metro.net's picture


Jeremy's picture


Michael's picture

Brian Wilson

Mangoman's picture

Pop: Jimmy Buffett. Jazz: Dave Brubeck. NewAge/Classical: Yanni. Rock: Lennon-McCartney.

Nick Fulford's picture

Gustav Mahler spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His works are amazing in their scale, and embody the paradoxical qualities which are the 20th century. Here is hope and desolation presented in nakedly ecstatic form. The third symphony is a truly magnificent form. Neitzche's lament in the 4th movement is one of great sadnessness and subtle joy. The 6th movement is wholly transcendent, as paradox is ultimately expressed via ecstatic union, where expansion to infinity and collapse into void occur concurrently.

Anonymous's picture


Sam Tellig's picture


Anonymous's picture

Van Morrison

Barry Krakovsky's picture

Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Stravinsky, Zappa, Varèse, Doc Pomus, Willie Dixon, Lennon-McCartney, Tom Waits, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Patti Smith, Paul Simon, Andrew Lloyd Webber (just kidding), Brian Wilson, Jagger-Richards, Bob Marley, Richard Thompson, Van Morrison, The Clash (before "Combat Rock"), Rodgers/Hamerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Muddy Waters. My apologies to those I left out.

Frank Holderfield, Mobile, AL's picture

There are so many choices to make. What makes it easier for me is that most composers seem to follow that safe formula, and much of what they end up with sounds like everything else on the radio and is boring after several listenings. I have two choices that I feel meet the criteria for Greatest Composers. I find Brian Eno to be fascinating and certainly not afraid to take chances. Each piece sounds different, and he is quite the adventurer. He has influenced many other composers and is responsible for the origin of the term "Ambient." My second choice is someone who is not a composer of the 20th century, but I still want to include him as one of the greatest composers of all time: Frederic Chopin. His piano pieces will completely draw you into his music and you beg for more. In particular, his Nocturne in C# minor, Op. posth. is so beautiful and rich it will leave you breathless.

Ken's picture

Lennon-McCartney. Those tunes just stick in my head. I enjoy them as much today as I did when they came out in the 60's.

Peter, klucken@cityweb.de's picture

Kenny Wheeler: The great jazz trumpet player has composed some really wonderful pieces.

Todd A.'s picture

Bartók. His music is so demanding and complex, yet so enjoyable to listen to, that I just have to give hime the nod over Stravinsky and America's finest, Ellington. Prior to my conversion to classical, with a smattering of jazz, I would have said Jimmy Page/Robert Plant. Quite a change, huh?

Bill Crane's picture


Gerald Neily's picture

Dmitri Shostakovich - He says it all.

Brad - Atlanta's picture


Chip Stern's picture

Only one? Stravinsky. Bartók. Ellington. Monk. Herbie Nichols.

Wilson Wong's picture

The Beatles: John, Paul, George, Ringo

Eric Sherbon's picture

Philip Wilby, a composer living in Leeds, England.

Mad Guru's picture

I have no favorite composer, I am interested in listening to attention grabbing compositions.

G.  Strausser's picture

Duke Ellington. You may not agree, but you'll have to admit he belongs in the company of whoever is the greatest.

Anonymous's picture


Peter Baccus, Toronto's picture

The vote would definitely go to my dad. Year after year, he manages to transmute household waste into the most nutrient- rich soil imaginable. I'd offer some of this fertilizer to your writers, but most don't seem to need it ;)

SFC's picture

Duke Ellington

B-)'s picture


Gregory E.Osburg's picture

Joni Mitchell

M.  Vallis's picture

Frank Zappa

Erich's picture

Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham