The Most Famous

COMPOSERS from Czechia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Czech Composers. The pantheon dataset contains 1,451 Composers, 59 of which were born in Czechia. This makes Czechia the birth place of the 8th most number of Composers behind Russia, and Austria.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Czech Composers of all time. This list of famous Czech 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 Czech Composers.

Photo of Antonín Dvořák

1. Antonín Dvořák (1841 - 1904)

With an HPI of 82.41, Antonín Dvořák is the most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 125 different languages on wikipedia.

Antonín Leopold Dvořák ( d(ə-)VOR-zha(h)k; Czech: [antoˈɲiːn ˈlɛopold dvoˈr̝aːk] ; 8 September 1841 – 1 May 1904) was a Czech composer. Dvořák frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia, following the Romantic-era nationalist example of his predecessor Bedřich Smetana. Dvořák's style has been described as "the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them," and he himself has been described as "arguably the most versatile... composer of his time".Dvořák displayed his musical gifts at an early age, being an apt violin student. The first public performances of his works were in Prague in 1872 and, with special success, in 1873, when he was 31 years old. Seeking recognition beyond the Prague area, he submitted scores of symphonies and other works to German and Austrian competitions. He did not win a prize until 1874, with Johannes Brahms on the jury of the Austrian State Competition. In 1877, after his third win, Brahms recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Simrock, who commissioned what became the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. The sheet music's high sales and critical reception led to his international success. A London performance of Dvořák's Stabat Mater in 1883 led to many other performances in the United Kingdom, the United States, and eventually Russia in March 1890. The Seventh Symphony was written for London in 1885. In 1892, Dvořák became the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. While in the United States, Dvořák wrote his two most successful orchestral works: the Symphony From the New World, which spread his reputation worldwide, and his Cello Concerto, one of the most highly regarded of all cello concerti. On a summer vacation in Spillville, Iowa in 1893, Dvořák also wrote his most famous piece of chamber music, his String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, the American. While he remained at the Conservatory for a few more years, pay cuts and an onset of homesickness led him to return to Bohemia in 1895. All of Dvořák's ten operas, except his first, have librettos in Czech and were intended to convey the Czech national spirit, as were some of his choral works. By far the most successful of the operas is Rusalka, premiered in 1901. Among his smaller works, the seventh Humoresque and the song "Songs My Mother Taught Me" are also widely performed and recorded. The Dvořák Prague International Music Festival is a major series of concerts held annually to celebrate Dvořák's life and works.

Photo of Gustav Mahler

2. Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)

With an HPI of 82.39, Gustav Mahler is the 2nd most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 119 different languages.

Gustav Mahler (German: [ˈɡʊstaf ˈmaːlɐ]; 7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th-century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect, which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained into the 21st century. Born in Bohemia (then part of the Austrian Empire) to Jewish parents of humble origins, the German-speaking Mahler displayed his musical gifts at an early age. After graduating from the Vienna Conservatory in 1878, he held a succession of conducting posts of rising importance in the opera houses of Europe, culminating in his appointment in 1897 as director of the Vienna Court Opera (Hofoper). During his ten years in Vienna, Mahler—who had converted to Catholicism to secure the post—experienced regular opposition and hostility from the anti-Semitic press. Nevertheless, his innovative productions and insistence on the highest performance standards ensured his reputation as one of the greatest of opera conductors, particularly as an interpreter of the stage works of Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. Late in his life he was briefly director of New York's Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler's œuvre is relatively limited; for much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet composed when he was a student in Vienna, Mahler's works are generally designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists. These works were frequently controversial when first performed, and several were slow to receive critical and popular approval; exceptions included his Second Symphony, and the triumphant premiere of his Eighth Symphony in 1910. Some of Mahler's immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten are among later 20th-century composers who admired and were influenced by Mahler. The International Gustav Mahler Society was established in 1955 to honour the composer's life and achievements.

Photo of Bedřich Smetana

3. Bedřich Smetana (1824 - 1884)

With an HPI of 76.94, Bedřich Smetana is the 3rd most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.

Bedřich Smetana ( BED-ər-zhikh SMET-ə-nə, Czech: [ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈsmɛtana] ; 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his people's aspirations to a cultural and political "revival". He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his 1866 opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem "Vltava", also popularly known by its German name "Die Moldau" (in English, "The Moldau"). Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of six. After conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the 1848 Prague uprising, in which he briefly participated. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works. In the early 1860s, a more liberal political climate in Bohemia encouraged Smetana to return permanently to Prague. He threw himself into the musical life of the city, primarily as a champion of the new genre of Czech opera. In 1866 his first two operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were premiered at Prague's new Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great popularity. In that same year, Smetana became the theatre's principal conductor, but the years of his conductorship were marked by controversy. Factions within the city's musical establishment considered his identification with the progressive ideas of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner inimical to the development of a distinctively Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work, and may have hastened a decline in health that precipitated his resignation from the theatre in 1874. By the end of 1874, Smetana had become completely deaf but, freed from his theatre duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained composition that continued for almost the rest of his life. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to his incarceration in an asylum and subsequent death. His reputation as the founding father of Czech music has endured in his native country, where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries and successors. However, relatively few of Smetana's works are in the international repertory, and most foreign commentators tend to regard Antonín Dvořák as a more significant Czech composer.

Photo of Leoš Janáček

4. Leoš Janáček (1854 - 1928)

With an HPI of 70.98, Leoš Janáček is the 4th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Leoš Janáček (Czech pronunciation: [ˈlɛoʃ ˈjanaːtʃɛk] , 3 July 1854 – 12 August 1928) was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist, and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and other Slavic music, including Eastern European folk music, to create an original, modern musical style. Born in Hukvaldy, Janáček demonstrated musical talent at an early age and was educated in Brno, Prague, Leipzig, and Vienna. He then returned to live in Brno, where he married his pupil Zdenka Schulzová and devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research. His earlier musical output was influenced by contemporaries such as Antonín Dvořák, but around the turn of the century he began to incorporate his earlier studies of national folk music, as well as his transcriptions of "speech melodies" of spoken language, to create a modern, highly original synthesis. The death of his daughter Olga in 1903 had a profound effect on his musical output; these notable transformations were first evident in the opera Jenůfa (often called the "Moravian national opera"), which premiered in 1904 in Brno. In the following years, Janáček became frustrated with a lack of recognition from Prague, but this was finally relieved by the success of a revised edition of Jenůfa at the National Theatre in 1916, which gave Janáček access to the world's great opera stages. Janáček's later works are his most celebrated. They include operas such as Káťa Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen, the Sinfonietta, the Glagolitic Mass, the rhapsody Taras Bulba, two string quartets, and other chamber works. Many of Janáček's later works were influenced by Czech and Russian literature, his pan-Slavist sentiments, and his infatuation with Kamila Stösslová. After his death in 1928, Janáček's work was heavily promoted on the world opera stage by the Australian conductor Charles Mackerras, who also restored some of his compositions to their original, unrevised forms. In his homeland he inspired a new generation of Czech composers including several of his students. Today he is considered one of the most important Czech composers, along with Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana.

Photo of Bohuslav Martinů

5. Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)

With an HPI of 64.97, Bohuslav Martinů is the 5th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Bohuslav Jan Martinů (Czech: [ˈboɦuslaf ˈmarcɪnuː] ; December 8, 1890 – August 28, 1959) was a Czech composer of modern classical music. He wrote 6 symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and a large body of orchestral, chamber, vocal and instrumental works. He became a violinist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and briefly studied under Czech composer and violinist Josef Suk. After leaving Czechoslovakia in 1923 for Paris, Martinů deliberately withdrew from the Romantic style in which he had been trained. During the 1920s he experimented with modern French stylistic developments, exemplified by his orchestral works Half-time and La Bagarre. He also adopted jazz idioms, for instance in his Kitchen Revue (Kuchyňská revue). In the early 1930s he found his main fount for compositional style: neoclassicism, creating textures far denser than those found in composers treating Stravinsky as a model. He was prolific, quickly composing chamber, orchestral, choral and instrumental works. His Concerto Grosso and the Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani are among his best-known works from this period. Among his operas, Juliette and The Greek Passion are considered the finest. He has been compared to Prokofiev and Bartók in his innovative incorporation of Czech folk elements into his music. He continued using Bohemian and Moravian folk melodies throughout his oeuvre, for instance in The Opening of the Springs (Otvírání studánek). His symphonic career began when he emigrated to the United States in 1941, fleeing the German invasion of France. His six symphonies were performed by all the major US orchestras. Eventually Martinů returned to live in Europe for two years starting in 1953, then was back in New York until returning to Europe in May 1956. He died in Switzerland in August 1959.

Photo of Jan Dismas Zelenka

6. Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679 - 1745)

With an HPI of 64.53, Jan Dismas Zelenka is the 6th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Jan Dismas Zelenka (16 October 1679 – 23 December 1745), baptised Jan Lukáš Zelenka was a Czech composer and musician of the Baroque period. His music is admired for its harmonic inventiveness and mastery of counterpoint. Zelenka was raised in Central Bohemia, educated in Prague and Vienna, and spent his professional life in Dresden. The greatest success during his career was the performance of the extensive composition Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis in the presence of the Emperor Charles VI, shortly after his coronation as king of Bohemia in 1723.

Photo of Johann Stamitz

7. Johann Stamitz (1717 - 1757)

With an HPI of 63.41, Johann Stamitz is the 7th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz (Czech: Jan Václav Antonín Stamic; 18 June 1717 – 27 March 1757) was a Bohemian composer and violinist. His two surviving sons, Carl and Anton Stamitz, were composers of the Mannheim school, of which Johann is considered the founding father. His music is stylistically transitional between the Baroque and Classical periods.

Photo of Josef Suk

8. Josef Suk (1874 - 1935)

With an HPI of 62.75, Josef Suk is the 8th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Josef Suk (4 January 1874 – 29 May 1935) was a Czech composer and violinist. He studied under Antonín Dvořák, whose daughter he married.

Photo of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

9. Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897 - 1957)

With an HPI of 62.66, Erich Wolfgang Korngold is the 9th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (German: [ˈeːʁɪç ˈvɔlfɡaŋ ˈkɔʁnɡɔlt]; May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957) was an Austrian composer and conductor, who adopted US nationality after fleeing from Europe. A child prodigy, he became one of the most important and influential composers in Hollywood history. He was a noted pianist and composer of classical music, along with music for Hollywood films, and the first composer of international stature to write Hollywood scores.When he was 11, his ballet Der Schneemann (The Snowman), became a sensation in Vienna, followed by his Second Piano Sonata, which he wrote at age 13, played throughout Europe by Artur Schnabel. His one-act operas Violanta and Der Ring des Polykrates were premiered in Munich in 1916, conducted by Bruno Walter. At 23, his opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) premiered in Hamburg and Cologne. In 1921 he conducted the Hamburg Opera. During the 1920s he re-orchestrated, re-arranged and nearly re-composed several operettas by Johann Strauss II. By 1931 he was a professor of music at the Vienna State Academy. At the request of motion picture director Max Reinhardt, and due to the rise of the Nazi regime, Korngold moved to Hollywood in 1934 to write music scores for films. His first was Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935). He subsequently wrote scores for such films as Captain Blood (1935), which helped boost the career of its starring newcomer, Errol Flynn. His score for Anthony Adverse (1936) won an Oscar and was followed two years later with another Oscar for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Overall, he wrote the score for 16 Hollywood films, receiving two more nominations. Along with Max Steiner and Alfred Newman, he is one of the founders of film music. Although his late classical Romantic compositions were no longer as popular when he died in 1957, his music underwent a resurgence of interest in the 1970s beginning with the release of the RCA Red Seal album The Sea Hawk: The Classic Film Scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1972). This album, produced by his son George Korngold, was hugely popular and ignited interest in other film music of his and of other composers like Steiner and in his concert music, which often incorporated popular themes from his film scores (an example being the Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35, which incorporated his themes from four different motion picture scores and is a part of the standard repertoire).

Photo of Anton Reicha

10. Anton Reicha (1770 - 1836)

With an HPI of 61.57, Anton Reicha is the 10th most famous Czech Composer.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Anton (Antonín, Antoine) Joseph Reicha (Rejcha) (26 February 1770 – 28 May 1836) was a Czech-born, Bavarian-educated, later naturalized French composer and music theorist. A contemporary and lifelong friend of Beethoven, he is now best remembered for his substantial early contributions to the wind quintet literature and his role as teacher of pupils including Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz and César Franck. He was also an accomplished theorist, and wrote several treatises on various aspects of composition. Some of his theoretical work dealt with experimental methods of composition, which he applied in a variety of works such as fugues and études for piano and string quartet. None of the advanced ideas he advocated in the most radical of his music and writings, such as polyrhythm, polytonality and microtonal music, were accepted or employed by other nineteenth-century composers. Due to Reicha's unwillingness to have his music published (like Michael Haydn before him), he fell into obscurity soon after his death and his life and work have yet to be intensively studied.


Pantheon has 60 people classified as Czech composers born between 1567 and 1959. Of these 60, 1 (1.67%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Czech composers include Vladimír Franz. The most famous deceased Czech composers include Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler, and Bedřich Smetana. As of April 2024, 3 new Czech composers have been added to Pantheon including Christoph Demantius, Andreas Hammerschmidt, and Karel Husa.

Living Czech Composers

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Deceased Czech Composers

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Newly Added Czech Composers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Composers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Composers since 1700.