The German-born violinist tops the first-ever uDiscover Classical 100! Garrett began playing the violin at the age of four and signed a record deal when he was just 13, recording the famously difficult 24 Paganini Caprices just two years later. He remains one of the world’s best-selling musicians.
One of the biggest names in classical music today, Andrea Bocelli has performed with artists from Luciano Pavarotti to Ed Sheeran. In 2020 he performed a recital to an empty Milan Cathedral, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: the live stream of the concert was watched 28 million times in its first 24 hours.
The King of the Waltz, André Rieu, takes bronze in The uDiscover Classical 100. Famous for his exuberant concerts, Rieu leads his Johann Strauss Orchestra from the violin. His recordings – including ‘Amore’, ‘Magic of the Waltz’ and ‘Magic of the Violin’ – regularly top the classical charts around the world.
The hugely talented Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho shot to the world’s attention when he won First Prize at the 2015 Chopin International Competition. Since then, he’s recorded an album of works by Mozart with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and, most recently, a collection of 19th-century works by Schubert, Liszt and Alban Berg.
Nicola Benedetti first came to the attention of the music world when she won the BBC Young Musician competition in 2004. Since then, she’s recorded works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich and Wynton Marsalis. Most recently, she set up the Benedetti Foundation which puts on workshops for young musicians across the UK.
A true legend of the piano. The Argentine pianist Martha Argerich is considered by many to be one of the greatest pianists of all time. She made her debut at the age of eight and made her name by winning the Chopin Competition in Warsaw at the age of 24. Now, at the age of 79, she continues to perform with the world’s top orchestras and soloists.
The superstar mezzo-soprano from Wales makes it into the top 10 in The uDiscover Classical 100’s first year. She learned to sing as a chorister at St David’s Church in Neath and came to international attention when she performed at Westminster Cathedral in honour of Pope John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee. She is one of today’s best-selling classical stars.
The musician from Liverpool is one of a handful of conductors to be a household name internationally. His career has taken him from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, to a highly successful stint with the Berlin Philharmonic, to his current role at the London Symphony Orchestra. A giant of classical music.
Composer John Williams is one of the biggest names in film music, and he’s still writing music today, at the age of 89. There are precious few blockbusters of the 90s and early 2000s which weren’t scored by his masterful hand, from E.T. to Home Alone, Jaws to Harry Potter. He has been nominated for an Oscar an amazing 52 times.
The Spanish tenor-turned baritone and conductor reaches number 10 in our chart. Domingo is best-known, perhaps, as one of The Three Tenors – alongside Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras. As a soloist, he has sung all of the best-known roles in opera and continues to perform as a baritone and conductor at the age of 80 today.
A living legend of classical music, cellist Yo-Yo Ma has become the musician America turns to in moments of great national importance: he performed at the site of World Trade Center in 2002 and at the presidential inauguration ceremonies for both Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The great American-Israeli violinist reaches Number 12 in the first-ever uDiscover Classical 100. Perhaps the most famous violinist in the world, Perlman has performed with all the world’s great orchestras and chamber musicians – but has also appeared at Madison Square Gardens with Billy Joel and even on Sesame Street!
Violinist Hilary Hahn has made a name for herself as a champion of contemporary music, as well as a virtuoso performer of the great Classical and Romantic works: composers including Jennifer Higdon and Lera Auerbach have written works for her.
The great Daniel Barenboim is a hard musician to categorise – a pianist, conductor and thought-leader who set up the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and carried the Olympic flag at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. He speaks several languages and is a citizen of Argentina, Israel, Palestine and Spain. Performances and recordings by Daniel Barenboim are not to be missed.
A true modern diva, Cecilia Bartoli is a trail-blazing mezzo-soprano who’s not afraid to experiment in her performances, or in her always eye-catching album covers! Best known for her performances of music by Bellini, Handel, Mozart and Rossini, she’s also a keen exponent of less well-known Baroque composers.
A superstar of the piano, Yuja Wang began studying the instrument at the age of six and she shot to fame in 2007, when she replaced Martha Argerich for a performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Now in her early thirties, her name on a programme is guaranteed to sell-out any concert hall.
The sole saxophonist to enter The uDiscover Classical 100 top 25, Jess Gillam is one of the fastest rising stars of the classical world. In 2018 she was a soloist at the world-famous Last Night of the Proms and she is the first saxophonist ever to be signed to Decca Classics. Her latest album, ‘Time’, includes works by Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and Thom Yorke.
Alfred Brendel, at the age of 90, is the oldest artist to appear in the top 25. The Austrian pianist is best known for his landmark recordings of works by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. As well as being a wonderful performer, he’s also a poet, author and lecturer whose books include A Pianist’s A-Z: A Piano Lover’s Reader and Alfred Brendel on Music.
There are very few musicians who can be credited with inspiring millions to follow in their footsteps – but that’s exactly what Lang Lang did. Millions of youngsters took up the piano in China, in what became known as ‘The Lang Lang effect’. Passionate about encouraging young musicians, Lang Lang recently became the ambassador of a new classical radio station for children, Fun Kids Classical.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov’s trophy cabinet must be quite something: early in his career he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition, the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and the International Chopin Piano Competition. Since then, he’s won a Grammy and been named Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards. And he’s still in his 20s…
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason is another uDiscover Classical 100 musician whose career was launched by winning BBC Young Musician (along with Nicola Benedetti). Since winning the title in 2016, he has performed at the Baftas twice, played live at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and released two chart-topping recordings.
The only trumpeter to make it into the top 25 is British musician Alison Balsom. She made her name as a performer in the early 2000s, releasing her debut album in 2002. She has since gone on to work as, not only one of the world’s top trumpeters, but also an arranger, producer, educator and festival director.
A titan of the movie industry, Hans Zimmer has scored films including Gladiator, The Lion King, Dunkirk and Inception. Originally from Germany, Zimmer is self-taught and has said that Ennio Morricone’s score for Once Upon a Time in the West was the work that inspired him to become a film composer. His big break came when he wrote the score for Rain Man in 1988.
Sarah Brightman is often credited with being the first crossover artist: she made her name on the stage, making her West End debut in Cats before going on to star as Christine in Phantom of the Opera. In 1996 she recorded ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ with Andrea Bocelli, which has since gone on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold 12 million copies worldwide.
Yiruma is a thoroughly modern superstar – the pianist and composer’s concerts are a guaranteed sell-out and his videos on YouTube have been viewed over 400 million times. He studied at the Purcell School of Music and the University of King’s College London, both in the UK, before returning to South Korea and releasing his debut album, Love Scene, in 2001.