Composer Information Resources

Paw Page Resources


Composer Web Pages


Library Books - General 

780.3 O98

Hurd, Michael. The Oxford Junior Companion to Music. New York : Oxford University Press, 1979.
Includes over 3,000 alphabetically arranged definitions of musical terms, recommended musical works, and biographical sketches of famous composers and musicians.

927 V468

Ventura, Piero. Great Composers. New York : Putnam, 1989.
Briefly introduces the greatest composers over the centuries and the contributions they made to the development of music.

R 780 S125

Sadie, Stanley Sir ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Washington, D.C. : Macmillan Publishers, 1980.
A very detailed multi-volume resource used into the college level.

R 780.92 G786

The Great Composers, Their Lives and Times. New York : MarshallCavendish Corp., 1987.
Each volume in the set concentrates on one to three noted composers. This is also a great source for pictures. Vol. 1. Mozart, Vol. 2. Beethoven, Vol. 3. Vivaldi & Handel, Vol. 4. Tchaikovsky, Vol.5. Bach & Haydn, Vol. 6. Schubert, Chopin, & Liszt, Vol. 7. Brahms & Mahler, Vol. 8. Berlioz, Mendelssohn & Schumann.

R 920.03 C951

Cross, Milton John, 1897-. The Milton Cross New Encyclopedia of the Great Composers and Their Music. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1969.
Gives biographical information about composers and discusses their important works.

780 S788

Stanley, John. Classical Music : an Introduction to Classical Music Through the Great Composers & Their Masterworks. Pleasantville, N.Y. : Reader's Digest Association, 1994.
Chronicles more than 800 years of classical music, composers, performers, and instruments.

780.92 S187

Samachson, Dorothy. Masters of Music: Their Works, Their Lives,Their Times. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1967.
Gives biographical information along with many illustrations.

789.9 H489

Hemming, Roy. Discovering Great Music : a New Listener's Guide to the Top Classical Composers and Their Masterworks on CDs, LPs, and tapes. New York : Newmarket Press, 1988.
As the title indicates, this is a good source of recommended recordings of composer works.

927 K94

Krull, Kathleen. Lives of the Musicians : Good Times and Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought). San Diego, CA.: Harcourt Brace, 1993.
A good source of information about composers's childhood experiences.

 Library Books - Women composers

927 N619

Nichols, Janet. Women Music Makers : An Introduction to Women Composers. New York : Walker, 1992.
Describes the lives and accomplishments of ten women composers who challenged opposition because of their gender, including Clara Schumann, Florence Price, and Ethel Smyth.

 Library Books - Modern & American composers 

R 780 E94

Ewen, David. Composers Since 1900. : A Biographical and Critical Guide. New York : H.W. Wilson Co., 1981.
Includes biographies and information on composers of the twentieth century.

927 K59

Kirkpatrick, John. The New Grove Twentieth-Century American Masters. New York: W.W.Norton, 1987.

927 N619

Nichols, Janet. American Music Makers : An Introduction to American Composers. New York : Walker and Co., 1990.
Contains brief biographies of ten American composers.

R 780 S634

Slonimsky, Nicolas. Baker's Biographical Dictionary Of Twentieth-Century Classical Musicians. NewYork: Schirmer Books, 1997.

R 781.65 F288

Feather, Leonard G. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Oxford, 1999.

R 782.1 G211

Gänzl, Kurt. The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. New York: Schirmer Books, 1994.



Biographies Plus

Information on historical and modern composers from more than 100 Reference books.


This encyclopedia will provide general biographical information plus some short audio clips of music.

World Book

Another encyclopedia with biographical information and music clips



An excellent resource based on the Biography television series.

Classical Composers Archive

Gives a photo and birth/death information. "Note" after an entry indicates that there is additional biographical information attached.

Classical Music Pages

Good source of pictures, lists of works, and music clips.

Essential Music

Sony Music and Norton publishing produced this site with composer biographies and musical samples.

Women Composers

A listing of 200 classical women composers whose works have been recorded on compact discs. Highlighted names link to additional information about the composer.


Individual Composer Web Pages






Johann Strauss



Richard Strauss





 To Locate Music Recordings in the Library:

Do an Author Search for the composer's last name in the Reed-Gumenick Library catalog on the Paw Page. "TA" in the call number indicates the recording is an audiocassette tape; "CD" in the call number indicates a compact disc.


Updated by Cheryl Childress 10/18/2005