The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary German Musicians of all time. This list of famous German Musicians 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 German Musicians.
With an HPI of 75.19, Clara Schumann is the most famous German Musician. Her biography has been translated into 67 different languages on wikipedia.
Clara Josephine Schumann ([ˈklaːʁa ˈʃuːman]; née Wieck; 13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896) was a German pianist, composer, and piano teacher. Regarded as one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era, she exerted her influence over the course of a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital by lessening the importance of purely virtuosic works. She also composed solo piano pieces, a piano concerto (her Op. 7), chamber music, choral pieces, and songs. She grew up in Leipzig, where both her father Friedrich Wieck and her mother Mariane were pianists and piano teachers. In addition, her mother was a singer. Clara was a child prodigy, and was trained by her father. She began touring at age eleven, and was successful in Paris and Vienna, among other cities. She married the composer Robert Schumann, and the couple had eight children. Together, they encouraged Johannes Brahms and maintained a close relationship with him. She gave the public premieres of many works by her husband and by Brahms. After Robert Schumann's early death, she continued her concert tours in Europe for decades, frequently with the violinist Joseph Joachim and other chamber musicians. Beginning in 1878, she was an influential piano educator at Dr. Hoch's Konservatorium in Frankfurt, where she attracted international students. She edited the publication of her husband's work. Schumann died in Frankfurt, but was buried in Bonn beside her husband. Several films have focused on Schumann's life, the earliest being Träumerei (Dreaming) of 1944. A 2008 film, Geliebte Clara (Beloved Clara), was directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms. An image of Clara Schumann from an 1835 lithograph by Andreas Staub was featured on the 100 Deutsche Mark banknote from 1989 to 2002. Interest in her compositions began to revive in the late 20th century, and her 2019 bicentenary prompted new books and exhibitions.
With an HPI of 74.56, Leopold Mozart is the 2nd most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 62 different languages.
Johann Georg Leopold Mozart (November 14, 1719 – May 28, 1787) was a German composer, violinist, and theorist. He is best known today as the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and for his violin textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (1756).
With an HPI of 63.97, Till Lindemann is the 3rd most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Till Lindemann (German pronunciation: [tɪl ˈlɪndəman]; born 4 January 1963) is a German singer and songwriter. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist of Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein and solo project Lindemann. Rammstein has sold over 25 million records worldwide, with five of their albums receiving platinum status, and Lindemann has been listed among the "50 Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time" by Roadrunner Records. Lindemann has also appeared in minor roles in films and has also published three books of poetry. He has presented some of his original poems and scripts to galleries.
With an HPI of 63.82, James Last is the 4th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
James Last (German pronunciation: [tʃeɪms last], [dʃeɪms lɑːst]; born Hans Last; 17 April 1929 – 9 June 2015), also known as Hansi, was a German composer and big band leader of the James Last Orchestra. Initially a jazz bassist (Last won the award for "best bassist" in Germany in each of the years 1950–1952), his trademark "happy music" made his numerous albums best-sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom, with 65 of his albums reaching the charts in the UK alone. His composition "Happy Heart" became an international success in interpretations by Andy Williams and Petula Clark. Last is reported to have sold an estimated 200 million records worldwide in his lifetime (figures vary widely, for example British Hit Singles & Albums (2006) reports 100 million at that time), of which 80 million were sold by 1973 - and won numerous awards including 200 gold and 14 platinum discs in Germany, the International MIDEM Prize at MIDEM in 1969, and West Germany's highest civilian award, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1978. His album This Is James Last remained a UK best-seller for 48 weeks, and his song "Games That Lovers Play" has been covered over a hundred times. Last undertook his final tour months before his death at age 86, upon discovering in September 2014 that an illness (the exact illness was never disclosed) had worsened. His final UK performance was his 90th at London's Royal Albert Hall, more than any other performer except Eric Clapton.Last's trademark sound employed big band arrangements of well-known tunes with a jaunty dance beat, often heavy on bass and brass. Despite at times being derided by critics and purists as the "king of elevator music" or "acoustic porridge", his style and music were popular in numerous countries and cultures, including Japan, South Korea, the former Soviet Union, the US and UK, and his native Germany, where it became "the archetypal soundtrack of any German cellar bar party", and made him the "most commercially successful bandleader" of the second half of the 20th century. Last's composition Jägerlatein is known in Ireland as the theme tune to The Sunday Game, a live sporting show which follows GAA hurling and Gaelic football All Ireland Championships since 1979.
With an HPI of 63.32, Hans von Bülow is the 5th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.
Freiherr Hans Guido von Bülow (8 January 1830 – 12 February 1894) was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. As one of the most distinguished conductors of the 19th century, his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, especially Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. Alongside Carl Tausig, Bülow was perhaps the most prominent of the early students of the Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor Franz Liszt; he gave the first public performance of Liszt's Sonata in B minor in 1857. He became acquainted with, fell in love with and eventually married Liszt's daughter Cosima, who later left him for Wagner. Noted for his interpretation of the works of Ludwig van Beethoven, he was one of the earliest European musicians to tour the United States.
With an HPI of 62.87, Frank Farian is the 6th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Frank Farian (born Franz Reuther; 18 July 1941) is a German record producer who founded the 1970s disco-pop group Boney M., the Latin pop band No Mercy and the pop band Milli Vanilli. He frequently created vocal groups in which the publicised members merely lip-synced to songs sung by session members. He owns the record label MCI and several subsidiaries. Over the course of his career, Farian has sold over 850 million records and earned 800 gold and platinum certifications.
With an HPI of 62.44, Rudolf Schenker is the 7th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.
Rudolf Schenker (born 31 August 1948) is a German guitarist, founder and leader of the hard rock band Scorpions. He is the rhythm guitarist, primary songwriter and longest-serving original member of the band. He is also the CEO/owner-manager of the Scorpions Musik-Produktions-und Verlagsgesellschaft mbH (Scorpions music production and publishing company) and owner/founder of the Scorpio-Sound-Studios in Lower Saxony. He is the older brother of Michael Schenker.
With an HPI of 62.04, Wilhelm Kempff is the 8th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Wilhelm Walter Friedrich Kempff (25 November 1895 – 23 May 1991) was a German pianist and composer. Although his repertoire included Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms, Kempff was particularly well known for his interpretations of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, recording the complete sonatas of both composers. He is considered to have been one of the chief exponents of the Germanic tradition during the 20th century and one of the greatest pianists of all time.
With an HPI of 60.82, Klaus Nomi is the 9th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.
Klaus Sperber (24 January 1944 – 6 August 1983), known professionally as Klaus Nomi, was a German countertenor noted for his wide vocal range and an unusual, otherworldly stage persona. In the 1970s Nomi immersed himself in the East Village art scene. He was known for his bizarre and visionary theatrical live performances, heavy make-up, unusual costumes, and a highly stylized signature hairdo that flaunted a receding hairline. His songs were equally unusual, ranging from synthesizer-laden interpretations of classical opera to covers of 1960s pop standards like Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes". Nomi was one of David Bowie's backup singers for a 1979 performance on Saturday Night Live.
With an HPI of 59.02, Friedrich Kalkbrenner is the 10th most famous German Musician. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Friedrich Wilhelm Michael Kalkbrenner (7 November 1784 – 10 June 1849), also known as Frédéric Kalkbrenner, was a pianist, composer, piano teacher and piano manufacturer. German by birth, Kalkbrenner studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, starting at a young age and eventually settled in Paris, where he lived until his death in 1849. Kalkbrenner composed more than 200 piano works, as well as many piano concertos and operas. When Frédéric Chopin came to Paris, Kalkbrenner suggested that Chopin could benefit by studying in one of Kalkbrenner's schools. It was not until the late 1830s that Kalkbrenner's reputation was surpassed by the likes of Chopin, Thalberg and Liszt. Author of a famous method of piano playing (1831) which was in print until the late 19th century, he ran in Paris what is sometimes called a "factory for aspiring virtuosos" and taught scores of pupils from as far away as Cuba. His pupils included Marie Pleyel, Marie Schauff, and Camille-Marie Stamaty. Through Stamaty, Kalkbrenner's piano method was passed on to Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Camille Saint-Saëns. He was one of the few composers who through deft business deals became enormously rich. Chopin dedicated his first piano concerto to him. Kalkbrenner published transcriptions of Beethoven's nine symphonies for solo piano decades before Liszt did the same. He was the first to introduce long and rapid octave passages in both hands – today so familiar from 19th century piano music – into his piano texture; however it could be argued that he was preceded by Beethoven with this particular technique.
Pantheon has 114 people classified as musicians born between 1688 and 1994. Of these 114, 80 (70.18%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living musicians include Till Lindemann, Frank Farian, and Rudolf Schenker. The most famous deceased musicians include Clara Schumann, Leopold Mozart, and James Last. As of April 2022, 8 new musicians have been added to Pantheon including Peter Winter, Klaus Doldinger, and Menahem Pressler.
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Which Musicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Musicians since 1700.