Chang or Liberace? Starker or Lanza? It is difficult for inquiring minds to tackle a field as large and diverse as classical music, covering 10 centuries of history: there are uncountable numbers of classical music performers in the world. Making a selection of musicians, such as a “top 10” for example, is a difficult and subjective exercise. A musical selection is often the expression of personal preferences or artistic opinions, very interesting but also very different according to critics or musicologists, or simply influenced by the context: will an English performer/musician not be instinctively privileged by an English critic?

For example: in Canada, Marc-André Hamelin, a Quebec pianist and composer, is at least as popular as the German violinist Anne-Sofie Mutter, who is more internationally renowned.

Timeline of classical musicians, between 1900 and 2000+ in North America

Whoever wants to discover classical music does not always have an experienced music lover, an expert or an educator at his or her side to support and guide him or her in this field. So : Chang (violinist) or Liberace (American pianist (1919-1987)) ? Alsop (Conductor and violinist) or Anderson (African-American contralto) ? However, the knowledge available about musicians is enormous. It was processed to select the 10, 25, 50... most popular performers around the world, for those living or having lived en North America, between 1900 and 2000+. And this objectively, and for the first time (soClassiQ exclusivity).

Performers rendered as a timeline to bring a little perspective:

ComposersConductorsLyrical singersPerformersReduce to performers only WorldwideEuropeNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAsiaOceaniaAfrica 2020

This timeline is interactive to navigate through the ages or across continents (with ).

Top 10 classical musicians in North America for the years 1900-2000+

Who are these greatest performers, the most famous over the 1900-2000+ era in North America? The carreer of these musician has marked the history of classical music. There are those you probably know, or at least by name and the others.

Here are these 10 performers, renowned artists from around the world:


The musicians and artists who also composed were removed from this ranking.

The selections of musicians (performers) proposed by soClassiQ are based exclusively on algorithms. The same applies to the composers, their works, the lyrical singers, les orchestras, the conductors and the venues : opera houses, concert halls or festivals.

What about the others? 25, 50 or more?

Summarizing to 10 musician names such a wide and diverse field may seem extreme or too simplistic for those who know classical music well, for those who can easily name 50 or more classical music performers. Heifetz, Sills, Milstein, Hahn, Rubinstein, Jenkins, Callas...

At this time, soClassiQ has listed more than 10000 performers. So here is a selection of some performers for the years 1900-2000+, in North America, widely recognized around the world:

B

Samuel <strong>Barber</strong> Samuel BarberThe great 20th-century performers
1910-1981 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

MasterpiecesComplete works

John <strong>Barry</strong> John BarryThe great 20th-century performers
1933-2011 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Béla <strong>Bartók</strong> Béla BartókThe great 20th-century performers
1881-1945 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

MasterpiecesComplete works

Kathleen <strong>Battle</strong> Kathleen BattleThe great 20th-century performers
age 71 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Amy <strong>Beach</strong> Amy BeachThe great 20th-century performers
1867-1944 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Joshua <strong>Bell</strong> Joshua BellThe great 20th-century performers
age 52 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Robert Russell BennettThe great 20th-century performers
1894-1981 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Cathy BerberianThe great 20th-century performers
1925-1983 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer

Boris BermanThe great 20th-century performers
age 72 (20th century)
Performer

Elmer <strong>Bernstein</strong> Elmer BernsteinThe great 20th-century performers
1922-2004 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Leonard <strong>Bernstein</strong> Leonard BernsteinThe great 20th-century performers
1918-1990 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

William <strong>Bolcom</strong> William BolcomThe great 20th-century performers
age 82 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Jorge BoletThe great 20th-century performers
1914-1990 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

Barbara <strong>Bonney</strong> Barbara BonneyThe great 20th-century performers
age 64 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Victor <strong>Borge</strong> Victor BorgeThe great 20th-century performers
1909-2000 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Paul <strong>Bowles</strong> Paul BowlesThe great 20th-century performers
1910-1999 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Glenn <strong>Branca</strong> Glenn BrancaThe great 20th-century performers
1948-2018 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Avery BrooksThe great 20th-century performers
age 70 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Leo <strong>Brouwer</strong> Leo BrouwerThe great 20th-century performers
1939-2003 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Lawrence <strong>Brownlee</strong> Lawrence BrownleeThe great 20th-century performers
age 47 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Adolf <strong>Busch</strong> Adolf BuschThe great 20th-century performers
1891-1952 (20th century)
Composer & Performer


F

Morton <strong>Feldman</strong> Morton FeldmanThe great 20th-century performers
1926-1987 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Arthur FiedlerThe great 20th-century performers
1894-1979 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Leon FleisherThe great 20th-century performers
age 91 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

Renée <strong>Fleming</strong> Renée FlemingThe great 20th-century performers
age 61 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Lukas FossThe great 20th-century performers
1922-2009 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

David <strong>Foster</strong> David FosterThe great 20th-century performers
age 70 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer


H

Hilary <strong>Hahn</strong> Hilary HahnThe great 20th-century performers
age 40 (20th century)
Performer

Marc-André <strong>Hamelin</strong> Marc-André HamelinThe great 20th-century performers
age 58 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

W. C. <strong>Handy</strong> W. C. HandyThe great 20th-century performers
1873-1958 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Barbara <strong>Hannigan</strong> Barbara HanniganThe great 20th-century performers
age 49 (20th century)
Conductor, Lyrical singer & Performer

Howard <strong>Hanson</strong> Howard HansonThe great 20th-century performers
1896-1981 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Lynn <strong>Harrell</strong> Lynn HarrellThe great 20th-century performers
age 76 (20th century)
Performer

Jascha <strong>Heifetz</strong> Jascha HeifetzThe great 20th-century performers
1901-1987 (20th century)
Performer

Barbara <strong>Hendricks</strong> Barbara HendricksThe great 20th-century performers
age 71 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Victor <strong>Herbert</strong> Victor HerbertThe great 20th-century performers
1859-1924 (Romantic)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Angela <strong>Hewitt</strong> Angela HewittThe great 20th-century performers
age 61 (20th century)
Performer

Paul <strong>Hindemith</strong> Paul HindemithThe great 20th-century performers
1895-1963 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Josef <strong>Hofmann</strong> Josef HofmannThe great 20th-century performers
1876-1957 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

James <strong>Horner</strong> James HornerThe great 20th-century performers
1953-2015 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Vladimir <strong>Horowitz</strong> Vladimir HorowitzThe great 20th-century performers
1903-1989 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Mieczysław <strong>Horszowski</strong> Mieczysław HorszowskiThe great 20th-century performers
1892-1993 (20th century)
Performer

Alan HovhanessThe great 20th-century performers
1911-2000 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer


... K

Fritz <strong>Kreisler</strong> Fritz KreislerThe great 20th-century performers
1875-1962 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Erich KunzelThe great 20th-century performers
1935-2009 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer


M

Yo-Yo <strong>Ma</strong> Yo-Yo MaThe great 20th-century performers
age 64 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Lorin <strong>Maazel</strong> Lorin MaazelThe great 20th-century performers
1930-2014 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Jeanette <strong>MacDonald</strong> Jeanette MacDonaldThe great 20th-century performers
1903-1965 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Edward <strong>MacDowell</strong> Edward MacDowellThe great 20th-century performers
1860-1908 (Romantic)
Composer & Performer

Alma <strong>Mahler</strong> Alma MahlerThe great 20th-century performers
1879-1964 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Henry <strong>Mancini</strong> Henry ManciniThe great 20th-century performers
1924-1994 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Wynton <strong>Marsalis</strong> Wynton MarsalisThe great 20th-century performers
age 58 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Bohuslav <strong>Martinů</strong> Bohuslav MartinůThe great 20th-century performers
1890-1959 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Audra <strong>Mcdonald</strong> Audra McdonaldThe great 20th-century performers
age 49 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Yehudi <strong>Menuhin</strong> Yehudi MenuhinThe great 20th-century performers
1916-1999 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

Robert <strong>Merrill</strong> Robert MerrillThe great 20th-century performers
1917-2004 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

David MillerThe great 20th-century performers
age 47 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Nathan <strong>Milstein</strong> Nathan MilsteinThe great 20th-century performers
1902-1992 (20th century)
Performer

Dimitri <strong>Mitropoulos</strong> Dimitri MitropoulosThe great 20th-century performers
1896-1960 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Gabriela <strong>Montero</strong> Gabriela MonteroThe great 20th-century performers
age 50 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Grace <strong>Moore</strong> Grace MooreThe great 20th-century performers
1898-1947 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer


P

Ignacy Jan <strong>Paderewski</strong> Ignacy Jan PaderewskiThe great 20th-century performers
1860-1941 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Jan PeerceThe great 20th-century performers
1904-1984 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Murray <strong>Perahia</strong> Murray PerahiaThe great 20th-century performers
age 73 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

Roberta PetersThe great 20th-century performers
1930-2017 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Gregor <strong>Piatigorsky</strong> Gregor PiatigorskyThe great 20th-century performers
1903-1976 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Walter PistonThe great 20th-century performers
1894-1976 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Manuel <strong>Ponce</strong> Manuel PonceThe great 20th-century performers
1886-1948 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Rosa PonselleThe great 20th-century performers
1897-1981 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

André <strong>Previn</strong> André PrevinThe great 20th-century performers
1929-2019 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Carlos PueblaThe great 20th-century performers
1917-1989 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer


S

Lalo <strong>Schifrin</strong> Lalo SchifrinThe great 20th-century performers
age 87 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Alexander <strong>Schneider</strong> Alexander SchneiderThe great 20th-century performers
1908-1993 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

Arnold <strong>Schoenberg</strong> Arnold SchoenbergThe great 20th-century performers
1874-1951 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

MasterpiecesComplete works

Gunther <strong>Schuller</strong> Gunther SchullerThe great 20th-century performers
1925-2015 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Gil ShahamThe great 20th-century performers
age 49 (20th century)
Performer

Anoushka ShankarThe great 20th-century performers
age 38 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer

Howard <strong>Shore</strong> Howard ShoreThe great 20th-century performers
age 73 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Beverly <strong>Sills</strong> Beverly SillsThe great 20th-century performers
1929-2007 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Alexander <strong>Siloti</strong> Alexander SilotiThe great 20th-century performers
1863-1945 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Abbey SimonThe great 20th-century performers
1920-2019 (20th century)
Performer

Dang Thai SonThe great 20th-century performers
age 61 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Stephen <strong>Sondheim</strong> Stephen SondheimThe great 20th-century performers
age 90 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

John Philip <strong>Sousa</strong> John Philip SousaThe great 20th-century performers
1854-1932 (Romantic)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Frederica von StadeThe great 20th-century performers
age 75 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

János StarkerThe great 20th-century performers
1924-2013 (20th century)
Performer

Max <strong>Steiner</strong> Max SteinerThe great 20th-century performers
1888-1971 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Jim SteinmanThe great 20th-century performers
age 72 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer

Isaac <strong>Stern</strong> Isaac SternThe great 20th-century performers
1920-2001 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

William Grant <strong>Still</strong> William Grant StillThe great 20th-century performers
1895-1978 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Igor <strong>Stravinsky</strong> Igor StravinskyThe great 20th-century performers
1882-1971 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

MasterpiecesComplete works

George <strong>Szell</strong> George SzellThe great 20th-century performers
1897-1970 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer


W

Rufus <strong>Wainwright</strong> Rufus WainwrightThe great 20th-century performers
age 46 (20th century)
Composer, Lyrical singer & Performer

Leonard WarrenThe great 20th-century performers
1911-1960 (20th century)
Lyrical singer & Performer

Kurt <strong>Weill</strong> Kurt WeillThe great 20th-century performers
1900-1950 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

John <strong>Williams</strong> John WilliamsThe great 20th-century performers
age 88 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

Paul <strong>Wittgenstein</strong> Paul WittgensteinThe great 20th-century performers
1887-1961 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Charles <strong>Wuorinen</strong> Charles WuorinenThe great 20th-century performers
1938-2020 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer


Z

Efrem ZimbalistThe great 20th-century performers
1889-1985 (20th century)
Composer, Conductor & Performer

David <strong>Zinman</strong> David ZinmanThe great 20th-century performers
age 83 (20th century)
Conductor & Performer

John <strong>Zorn</strong> John ZornThe great 20th-century performers
age 66 (20th century)
Composer & Performer

Some performers to be celebrated very soon

Next month, more than 40 important artists and musicians will be honoured. In July 2020 some of them may celebrate a special anniversary. For others, amateurs and enthusiasts will celebrate the bicentenary of their birth or the fiftieth anniversary of their death for example. Among them, some famous performers:

on 3, Audra Mcdonald (1970- ), 50th anniversary,
on 12, Keith Andes (1920-2005), 100th anniversary (Birth),
on 21, Isaac Stern (1920-2001), 100th anniversary (Birth),
on 28, Riccardo Muti (1940- ), 80th anniversary,
on 29, John Barbirolli (1899-1970), 50th anniversary (Death),
...

There are others to discover. And it is not too late to focus on the June 2020 celebrations (20+).

Always good opportunities to discover or deepen, (re)listen, explore the vastness and diversity of classical music...

See also...

Last update : 2020-06-01

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