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Great Composers | Who Get's the Prize for the Biggest Family?

from the Meet the Composer Index



Some of our greatest music composers came from big families, and some had big families of their own. Do you know who had the biggest family?

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Norway's greatest music composer, was the fourth of five children.

Aaron Copland (1900-1990), America's greatest music composer, was the last of five children.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) German composer was the last of five children.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) French composer came from a family of five children.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer of Ode the Joy, was the second of seven children.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was the last of seven children.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) German opera composer was the last of nine children.

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1884) French composer of the Can-Can was the seventh of ten children.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) German composer was the last of eight children.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Austrian composer was one of eleven children.

Franz Joseph Haydn ( 1732-1809) Austrian composer was the seventeen child, born to Mathias Haydn, who was at the time 63 years old!

Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) Russian composer of Pictures at an Exhibition, and Night on Bald Mountain from Disney's Fantasia, was the eleventh of eighteen children!

Does Mussorgsky get the prize? Nope, not him.

Some of our greatest music composers had big families of their own.

Johann Pachelbel (1653 - 1706) German Composer of Canon in D had 8 children. Two of his sons became music composers. Another son became an instrument maker and a daughter became an artist.

That's big, but not big enough.

The prize goes to German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) carried on the tradition of his father and had a big family of his own. Bach marrried Maria and had 7 children with her. Maria died in 1720. In 1721 Bach married Anna Magdalena and had 13 more children. Johann Sebastian Bach was the father of 20 children of which all that lived to adulthood became successful musicians.