10 composers who were inspired by Beethoven

The composers throughout history who were influenced by Beethoven

Composer Louise Farrenc

Louise Farrenc (1804-75)

A champion of the late piano sonatas, her Third Symphony was premiered in a concert featuring Beethoven’s Fifth.


Robert Schumann (1810-56)

The German’s solo piano Fantasie in C, Op. 17, was written to help fundraise for a Beethoven monument in Bonn.

Richard Wagner (1813-83)

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony became the mystical goal of all my desires about music’, wrote Wagner. It paved the way for his groundbreaking operas.

Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)

Spurred on by her encounters with Beethoven’s music, the British composer travelled to Leipzig to study.

Michael Tippett (1905-98)

Tippett’s Piano Concerto was a response to Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto and his String Quartet No. 4 was modelled on the C sharp minor Quartet Op. 131.

Thea Musgrave (b.1928)

Credits Beethoven with helping her to think ‘in dramatic narratives and gestures’.

John Corigliano (b.1938)

Asked to name his five greatest composers (December 2019 issue), Corigliano said Beethoven five times over.

John Adams (b.1947)

Getting ‘under the skin’ of Beethoven is one of the American’s obsessions, with harmony, rhythm and melody explored in pieces including Absolute Jest.

Gerald Barry (b.1952)

Barry once told The Spectator that he licked Beethoven’s carpet in a museum to feel closer to the great composer.

Hannah Kendall (b.1984)

The British composer says the Eroica Symphony’s ‘energy and drive’ encapsulates what she wants to bring to music.


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