Most Famous American Composers of the 21st Century

Indeed, there are many famous American composers whose work is popular globally. We have heard their music in TV shows, films, and festivals. They also create works at an early age which is later performed by orchestras or symphonies.


These famous American composers tend to work for Universities across the world. They also partner with other groups and individuals.

  1. Jay Greenberg

famous American composers

Greenberg is a famous American composer from New Haven, Connecticut. He also attended the Juilliard School when he was ten years old. Greenberg recorded his first CD, released by Sony Classical, in 2006.
The album includes his works titled Symphony #5 and String Quintet.
The London Symphony Orchestra performed Symphony #5 with director Jose Serebrier. String Quintet is popular because of the Juilliard String Quartet with Darrett Adkins joining the group.
Greenberg’s work includes orchestral arrangements, Chamber works, and Stage work. In addition, Joshua Bell performed Greenberg’s Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall.

 2. Dylan Mattingly

famous American composers Dylan Mattingly

Dylan Mattingly is from California and is a part of the Allers Altschuler family. They are a musical family from Los Angeles. Additionally, this family includes the renowned painter Gladys Aller. It also includes the poet George Mattingly. Mattingly attended Bard College & Conservatory of Music.
He graduated with two degrees: a BM in Music Composition and a BA in Classics. He later went on to complete an MM in Music from Yale.
Dylan has completed eighteen works of contemporary classical. He sings and plays the guitar, cello, piano, bass. At 27, his work has been a feature for many performances. These are in Berkeley Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cabrillo Festival.

3. J.R. Richards

famous American composers J.R. Richards

John Robert Richards is a singer-songwriter and record producer. He also composes works for films and TV. Furthermore, Richards is the lead singer and songwriter for Dishwalla. Dishwalla released their first album in 1995. It included the #1 hit song Counting Blue Cars, written by Richards. Richards received a Billboard Music Award for the track, and two ASCAP Awards.

He also went on to have a solo career with his debut album A Beautiful End, in 2009. He published a second album in 2016, along with another acoustic album. Richards has composed songs for TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, SAF3, and Criminal Minds. He currently works for Reid Richards Production. Moreover, Richards and his wife founded a music production company in 2010.

 4. Rachel Flowers

famous American composers Rachel Flowers

Rachel Flowers suffered from retinopathy as a premature baby. She lost her eyesight at three months of age. She learned to play the piano through her mother at age two. Thus began playing every song she heard. Flowers also had a formal musical training. She split her time between the Southern California Conservatory of Music, and The Academy of Music for the Blind. Her training covered many subjects including piano, music history, and music theory.  The list also included Braille, music code, and ear training.

Her career focused on Jazz, R&B, classical, and soul. She plays at least nine instruments including keyboard and guitar. She can also play the flute, bass guitar, saxophone, and ukulele. Rachel has performed for Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder. You can see her in the documentary, Hearing Is Believing, which was completed in 2017 after two years of filming.


5. Martha Callison Horst

famous American composers Martha Callison Horst

Martha Callison Horst is a classical composer. She has an impressive list of works spanning over twenty years. Her collection includes solo works, vocal works, and chamber ensemble. She currently works at Illinois State University.  This was in November 2017. It includes the three tracks Baltimore Prelude, Approaching Eternity, and Straussian Landscapes.
Her works are popular because of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Earplay. This is often arranged for two pianos, guitar trios, percussion quartets, alto saxophone, and piano.
Horst’s latest album features works written by Horst, Zhang, and Nicholas Bentz.

6. Nathaniel Stookey

famous American composers Nathaniel Stookey

Stookey had his first work at the age of 17 commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony. He has been the resident composer for the Halle Orchestra. Also, he worked with director Kent Nagano and the North Carolina Symphony. The group played over 60 performances, with eight works written for large orchestras. Stookey has also done some work for The Composer is Dead.

It is a murder-mystery orchestra guide containing text and narration from Lemony Snicket. He also has worked in the alternative, dance, and pop genres. One of his earliest work was a gift to a monastery, where he had lived in 1990. Stookey also plays the violin and the viola.


7. John Mackey

famous American composers John Mackey

John Mackey composes contemporary classical music. He also prefers to use wind bands as well as orchestral arrangements. He spent several years focusing on modern dance and ballet music before branching out to commissioned works.
Mackey’s latest works focused on concert band arrangements with his former work being chamber ensembles. His blog documents his current travels and most recent work.
He has Master of Music degree from Juilliard, but he does not play any instruments. According to Mackey, there are ways to compose music without playing a formal instrument.

8. Tarik O’Regan

famous American composers Tarik O’Regan

Tarik O’Regan is a British and American composer with over 100 compositions. You can see his works in 32 recordings. He also is a two time Grammy recipient. O’Regan has also received two British Composer Awards. O’Regan’s works are a blend of North African music, Renaissance vocal writings, and British rock bands.
His works are complex from a rhythmic standpoint and use a wide range of tonal techniques. O’Regan has released many albums that he has recorded for Choirs, orchestras, and operas. His works also include chamber ensembles, stage work and solo instrumental.

9. David T. Little

famous American composers David T. Little

David T. Little is an American composer and also a drummer who is well known for his works in opera and orchestra. His opera Dog Days is his most well known, which received high praise from The New York Times. Little’s accomplishments are too many to list.
Little’s music is popular across the globe. Examples include the New York City Opera, the New World Symphony and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the list includes London Sinfonietta, and American Opera Projects to name a few.
Little taught music and served as a composer. He also served as an executive director and founded the New Music Bake Sale, an annual event.
His follow up to Dog Days was the opera titled JFK. It was a work for Fort Worth Opera, Opera de Montreal, and American Lyric Theater. Also, it made its debut in April 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

10. Scott Perkins

famous American composers Scott Perkins

Scott Perkins is a composer, scholar, and tenor.  His works include musical theater and solo instrumentals. The list also includes choral music and film. His projects have included musical partners. Perkins had his first musical work performed by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

He later went on to complete a Master of Arts degree from Eastman School of Music.  He then finished his PHD in composition. Perkins currently works at the California State University, in Sacramento.

One Response to “Most Famous American Composers of the 21st Century”

  1. Georgepus said:

    Jan 17, 19 at 19:03

    Elton John is my favourite singer of all time. Elton fans, let’s unite at facebook dot com/Elton-John-Tour-Tickets-Concerts-219000645159063/! Full list of Elton’s Concerts in the USA and Canada!

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