20th Century Music

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    Antonin Dvorak

    Best known for beginning the american musical tradition, chiefly with his New World Symphony (9th)
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    Leos Janacek

    Most known for his use of Slavic style Folk music, as well as his use of speech imitation in his music.
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    Gustav Mahler

    Known for his large orchestral demands, primarily in his 8th Symphony, and his grand sounds in his compositions.
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    Claude Debussy

    Pioneered impressionism in music, with the use of slow works and colorful harmony.
    Major Works
    "La Mer", "Arabesque"
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    Richard Strauss

    Known for the opera Solome, as well as his work with tone poems, and his grand orchestral works
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    Carl Neilsen

    Expanded the use of folk music use in classical music. Primarily used Danish folk melodies and songs.
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    Scott Joplin

    Known as the King of Ragtime, Composed the Maple Leaf Rag along with other very popular early rags.
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    Alexander Scriabin

    Scriabin didn't quite begin atonal composition, however he did begin to use more dissonant musical techniques.
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    Arnold Schoenburg

    Pioneered 12 tone, surrealistic music.
    Believed that 12 tone was the academic way to compose music for the time.
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    Charles Ives

    The lesser known father of atonality, who was composing before Schoneberg, however went by the wayside.
    Major Works: "The Unanswered Question," "Central Park in the Dark."
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    Maurice Ravel

    Ravel was another composer who worked in the impressionist style, despite not using the term himself.
    Major Works: "Bolero," "Daphnis Et Chloe."
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    Manuel de Falla

    Prolific Spanish composer who used spanish folk melodies in is music as well as imitation of traditional spanish instrumentation within his compositional techniques
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    Bela Bartok

    Ethnomusicologist and composer, most notably using folk music in his compositions. One of Hungary's greatest composers.
    Major Works: "Concerto for Orchestra," "Romanian Folk Dances."
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    Igor Stravinsky

    Notable composer for his use of earlier musical forms, however using very new groupings of rhythms and time signatures. A major composer in the Neo-Classical genre.
    Major Works: "Firebird Suit," "Rite of Spring."
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    Percy Grainger

    Grainger is most known as a composer for his work in English folk song arrangements for a multitude of mediums, from voice to wind band.
    Major Works "Molly on the Shore,"Shepherds Hey"
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    Edgard Varese

    Viewed as the father of electronic music, using timbre and rhythm to drive his compositions. Composed one of the first Percussion Ensemble pieces entitled "Ionization"
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    Alban Berg

    Another student steeped in the 12 tone tradition, however Berg still used methods set in 19th century romanticism.
    A defining work for Berg was the opera "Wozzek."
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    Louis Durey

    A french composer who primarily composed witn the 12 tone method.
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    Sergei Prokofiev

    Prokofiev wrote in a wide range of mediums, ballets, overtures, and symphonies. A strong composer in the Neo-Classical movement.
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    Arthur Honegger

    Member of Les Six, who made multiple contributions to opera in France
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    Germaine Tailleferre

    The only Female member of the french composing group, Les Six. Composed in many different genres.
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    Darius Milhaud

    Member of the french group, Les Six, known best for his use of Polytonality in his music.
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    Walter Piston

    An early American Composer who worked on semitonal music, as well as wrote for full orchestras.
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    Carl Orff

    Composer and educator, Orff was a more traditional composer in terms of tonality, with works like "Carmina Burana" and "Die Kluge," but orff was most known for his educational innovations, the most prominent being the creation of the Orff style instruments.
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    Jean Sibelius

    Known as Finlands Greatest Composer, as at the time he was really the only one that the Finnish had.
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    Howard Hanson

    Educator at the Eastman School of Music, who promoted american style composition among his students.
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    Vergil Thompson

    Virgil Thompson is most known for expanding the American Sound in classical music.
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    Roy Harris

    Roy Harris is another champion of American music, who is most known for his "Symphony 3."
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    George Gershwin

    George Gershwin also grew the american sound, chiefly by adding a large jazz influence to classical music.
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    Francis Poulenc

    Another Member of the french composing group, Les Six, Poulenc was a prolific composer for many genres from solo piano works to choral works as well.
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    Georges Auric

    Another member of the french composing group, Les Six, Most notably known for his work in Film Scores and ballets
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    Duke Ellington

    Prolific trumpet player and bandleader who composed in both the jazz tradition as well as the classical world fusing jazz and classical music in his scores.
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    Kurt Weill

    Most notable for his work in writing music for the "Threepenny Opera" Which provided social commentary on the time.
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    Aaron Copeland

    One of the most popular American composers of the 20th Century, truly defined the american sound through his works, "Fanfare for the Common Man," "Appalachian Springs," and "Rodeo."
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    Dmitri Shostakovich

    Russian Composer who was most notable for his extremely visceral style of writing, that was used by the Soviet Union as Propaganda.
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    Oliver Messian

    A well versed composer in atonality who liked to explore religious and mystical themes, as well as birds, in works like
    "Exotic Birds," and "La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ."
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    Elliot Carter

    Most known for his use in polyrhythm and metric modulation in the orchestral world.
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    Samuel Barber

    Known mostly for his work "Adagio for Strings," Barber aimed for more lyrical and romantic styles.
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    William Schuman

    Schumann was a prolific composer noted for his massive collection of works in all genres, from Symphonies to Ballets
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    John Cage

    John Cage was a major innovator in the post-war Avant-Garde style with works like 4'33" and "Living Room Music"
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    Benjamin Britten

    Britten is most known for his work on the opera "Peter Grimes," or his orchestral work "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra."
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    Milton Babbit

    Known best for his work in electronic serial music, using mathematics and new electronic instruments, to create soundscapes.
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    Iannis Xenakis

    Xenakis was a pioneer of mathematical layering in music. One of the first composers to embrace the newer school of thought along the lines of Avant-Garde.
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    Gyorgy Ligeti

    Ligity is best known for writing Avant-Garde works using thick dissonance and unsettling harmony, in such works as "Atmosphères", "Lux Aeterna", "Requiem" and "Adventures"
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    Pierre Boulez

    Pupil of Arnold Schoenberg, and another contributor of post war Avant-Garde, with works like "Repons," and "Polyphonie X."
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    Morton Feldman

    Another follower of the Avant-Garde musical movement, Boulez looked to explore the extremes of duration in works like Rothko Chapel
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    Karlheinz Stockhausen

    An important composer in the electronic music movement, with his use of electronics and spiritual texts to create almost spiritual music.
    Notable Works: "Zyklus," "Licht."
  • Steve Reich

    Known mostly as one of the leading composers of minimalism early on, as well as musical and rhythmic Phasing, with works like Electric Counterpoint, and City Life
  • Phillip Glass

    Still Alive, a major composer in the minimalist tradition with notable works like "Glassworks," and "Metamorphosis."
  • John Adams

    Still Alive, and another composer of the minimalist tradition that goes further than instrumental works, but into the operatic world with works like "Nixon in China."