The Most Famous

COMPOSERS from Belgium

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This page contains a list of the greatest Belgian Composers. The pantheon dataset contains 1,228 Composers, 30 of which were born in Belgium. This makes Belgium the birth place of the 10th most number of Composers behind Czechia and Spain.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Belgian Composers of all time. This list of famous Belgian Composers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Belgian Composers.

Photo of Orlande de Lassus

1. Orlande de Lassus (1534 - 1594)

With an HPI of 81.44, Orlande de Lassus is the most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.

Orlande de Lassus (also Roland de Lassus, Orlando di Lasso, Orlandus Lassus, Orlande de Lattre or Roland de Lattre; 1532, possibly 1530 – 14 June 1594) was a composer of the late Renaissance, chief representative of the mature polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, and considered to be one of the three most famous and influential musicians in Europe at the end of the 16th century (the other two being Palestrina and Victoria).

Photo of César Franck

2. César Franck (1822 - 1890)

With an HPI of 77.07, César Franck is the 2nd most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

César-Auguste Jean-Guillaume Hubert Franck (French pronunciation: ​[sezaʁ oɡyst ʒɑ̃ ɡijom ybɛʁ fʁɑ̃k]; 10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890) was a Romantic composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life. He was born at Liège, in what is now Belgium (though at the time of his birth it was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands). He gave his first concerts there in 1834 and studied privately in Paris from 1835, where his teachers included Anton Reicha. After a brief return to Belgium, and a disastrous reception of an early oratorio Ruth, he moved to Paris, where he married and embarked on a career as teacher and organist. He gained a reputation as a formidable musical improviser, and travelled widely within France to demonstrate new instruments built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. In 1858, he became organist at the Basilica of St. Clotilde, Paris, a position he retained for the rest of his life. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872; he took French nationality, a requirement of the appointment. His pupils included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne, Charles Tournemire, Guillaume Lekeu and Henri Duparc. After acquiring the professorship, Franck wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire, including symphonic, chamber, and keyboard works.

Photo of Guillaume Du Fay

3. Guillaume Du Fay (1397 - 1474)

With an HPI of 76.52, Guillaume Du Fay is the 3rd most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Guillaume Du Fay ( dew-FY, French: [dy fa(j)i]; also Dufay, Du Fayt; 5 August 1397(?) – 27 November 1474) was a French composer and music theorist of the early Renaissance. Regarded as the leading European composer by his contemporaries, his music was widely performed and copied. Du Fay held various music positions during his lifetime, and was associated with the Burgundian School as well as among the first composers of, or at least a predecessor to, the Franco-Flemish School.His most famous and celebrated work, the complex motet Nuper Rosarum Flores, was written for the consecration of Filippo Brunelleschi's dome on the Florence Cathedral and is considered an icon of Western culture. Du Fay left behind an extensive oeuvre, including pieces representative of virtually every genre of polyphonic music from his time. His music effectively synthesized a wide variety of styles: that of the famous Missa Caput, the Contenance angloise of his older contemporary John Dunstaple, and the techniques of his younger contemporaries Johannes Ockeghem and Antoine Busnois.

Photo of Johannes Ockeghem

4. Johannes Ockeghem (1410 - 1497)

With an HPI of 75.84, Johannes Ockeghem is the 4th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Johannes Ockeghem (also Jean de, Jan; surname Okeghem, Ogkegum, Okchem, Hocquegam, Ockegham; 1410/1425 – 6 February 1497) was the most famous composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the last half of the 15th century, and is often considered the most influential composer between Guillaume Dufay and Josquin des Prez. In addition to being a renowned composer, he was also an honored singer, choirmaster, and teacher.

Photo of Adrian Willaert

5. Adrian Willaert (1490 - 1562)

With an HPI of 72.60, Adrian Willaert is the 5th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Adrian Willaert (c. 1490 – 7 December 1562) was a Netherlandish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there.

Photo of Henri Vieuxtemps

6. Henri Vieuxtemps (1820 - 1881)

With an HPI of 72.12, Henri Vieuxtemps is the 6th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps (French: [ɑ̃ʁi fʁɑ̃swa ʒɔzɛf vjøtɑ̃] 17 February 1820 – 6 June 1881) was a Belgian composer and violinist. He occupies an important place in the history of the violin as a prominent exponent of the Franco-Belgian violin school during the mid-19th century. He is also known for playing what is now known as the Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesù, a violin of superior workmanship.

Photo of Gilles Binchois

7. Gilles Binchois (1400 - 1460)

With an HPI of 71.80, Gilles Binchois is the 7th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Gilles de Binche (called Binchois; also known as Gilles de Bins; c. 1400 – 20 September 1460) was a composer from the Low Countries, one of the earliest members of the Burgundian school and one of the three most famous composers of the early 15th century. While often ranked behind his contemporaries Guillaume Dufay and John Dunstable by contemporary scholars, his works were still cited, borrowed and used as source material after his death.

Photo of Jacob Obrecht

8. Jacob Obrecht (1457 - 1505)

With an HPI of 71.56, Jacob Obrecht is the 8th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Jacob Obrecht (also Hobrecht; 1457/8 – late July 1505) was a Flemish composer of masses, motets and songs. He was the most famous composer of masses in Europe of the late 15th century and was only eclipsed after his death by Josquin des Prez.

Photo of André Grétry

9. André Grétry (1741 - 1813)

With an HPI of 71.28, André Grétry is the 9th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

André Ernest Modeste Grétry (French: [gʁɛtʁi]; baptised 11 February 1741; died 24 September 1813) was a composer from the Prince-Bishopric of Liège (present-day Belgium), who worked from 1767 onwards in France and took French nationality. He is most famous for his opéras comiques.

Photo of Eugène Ysaÿe

10. Eugène Ysaÿe (1858 - 1931)

With an HPI of 70.96, Eugène Ysaÿe is the 10th most famous Belgian Composer.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe (French: [øʒɛn iza.i]; 16 July 1858 – 12 May 1931) was a Belgian virtuoso violinist, composer, and conductor. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tsar".

Pantheon has 30 people classified as composers born between 1370 and 1953. Of these 30, 2 (6.67%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living composers include Philippe Herreweghe and Wim Mertens. The most famous deceased composers include Orlande de Lassus, César Franck, and Guillaume Du Fay. As of October 2020, 3 new composers have been added to Pantheon including Philippe de Monte, Giaches de Wert, and Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens.

Living Composers

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Deceased Composers

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Newly Added Composers (2020)

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Which Composers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 11 most globally memorable Composers since 1700.