German may not sound like the most melodic language on Earth, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of transmitting strong emotions and feelings to its listeners. In fact, we owe much of the classic musical compositions to Germans and their genius. And, no matter if you are a connoisseur of fine arts or a mere amateur, we’re positive you’ve heard of the following German musicians.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Born in 1770, Beethoven is probably the best-known music composer in the world. He was a prodigy and one of the pioneers of instrumental music in Europe, playing a fundamental role in the development of modern music. He started taking violin lessons when he was just five years old, and his passion for music developed due to his father who used to give violin and keyboard classes for a living.
Coming from a modest family, he was forced to quit his musical studies and provide private lessons to support his younger siblings after his parents died. Discovered by Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, he was finally sent to study music with Haydn in Vienna in 1792.
By the time he finished composing his last symphony, Beethoven had become completely deaf and had to turn to the crowd to sense the vibrations of their applauses to find out if what he envisioned would also please his fans.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Born nearly a century before Beethoven, Bach is one of the greatest German composers of all times. He took his passion for music from his entire family, receiving early training from his uncle and his father.
He started his violinist career in Weimar, and he later switched to playing the organ in Arnstadt. However, his talents weren’t recognized during his lifetime and, therefore, he had a hard time providing for himself and his family out of his music. It wasn’t until fifty years after the composer’s death in 1750 that his music was rediscovered and appreciated to its true value.
Although she is one of the legendary German actors, few people know that Marlene Dietrich also had an illustrious musical career. She enjoyed singing live in theaters and she tried to bring the German language closer to her international auditory with songs like “Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind” (Tell Me Where the Flowers Are).
Moving to the contemporary era, Hans Zimmer is arguably the most popular music composer of his time. He specialized in composing meaningful music for movies and counts for the success of many Hollywood sagas, including “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Inception.”
Zimmer was born in Frankfurt, West Germany but he didn’t appreciate a formal training in music, being constantly kicked out of schools because of his lack of focus and involvement.