08 Dec 2022

How German composers took the world by storm

21 February 2022 , By Abi carter

Germany is home to some of the world’s most well-known incredibly talented classical composers, and has fostered the development of world-class musical talent for the past 500 years. But why are so many composers from Germany, and how is the federal republic still creating new music masters?

Great German composers 

From Brahms to Beethoven, it seems Germany has got a gift for creating musical talent. To understand classical music in Germany, we first have to study its history, how music took over Germany, and how German music took over the world!

A brief history of classical music in Germany

Germany played a fundamental role in the development of classical music, opera and poetry with key composers such as Handel, Wagner and Schumann shaping the genre for centuries to follow. Classical music was popularised in 15th century Germany by the revolutionary composer Oswald von Wolkenstein. Wolkenstein travelled across Europe learning new musical techniques, bringing them back to Germany and introducing classical music styles to up-and-coming German musicians.

Following Wolkenstein's lead, 16th-century composers such as Bach and Handel created Baroque music, characterised by long melodic lines and ornamented music such as trills. The Baroque composers inspired a new era of musicians in Europe, bringing about the romantic period. Some of the key figures in German romanticism were Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn, with their genre known for its intense energy compared to earlier music tastes. 

After the 19th century, music styles changed rapidly in Germany, and during the 20th century, the country's musical taste evolved to include more modern genres such as jazz, blues, electronica and rock. Modern classical music made in Germany often incorporates historical elements from the Baroque and Romantic periods alongside modern techniques to create new sounds in the genre. 

I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path (www.careerjump.nl). I am a certified coach/counselor