Great Composers of the 20th Century Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990) American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. One of the first U.S. conductors to receive worldwide acclaim and "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.” His was music director of the New York Philharmonic, and conducted the music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront. Samuel Osborne Barber II (1910 – 1981) American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. It is said, "Probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, persistent and long-lasting acclaim.” He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music twice. Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten of Aldeburgh, English composer, conductor and pianist; a central figure of 20th-century classical music, opera, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945)”. Olivier Eugène Charles Prosper Messiaen (1908 – 1992) French composer, organist, and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, and experimented with novel electronic instruments. Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) Russian composer and pianist regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky. He received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.