Do there exist known contemporary composers who work in the style of the so-called Viennese classical period, and if so, who?

  • 2
    Does "working in the style of..." mean they write their music with quill pens, and travel everywhere by horse? Seriously, I don't think any professional contemporary composer would seriously contemplate doing this. But there are hundreds of amateurs who call themselves composers who do it, mostly very badly. Look at the self-publishing sites run by the major notation programs like Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore, etc., for thousands of examples.
    – user19146
    May 24, 2017 at 16:20
  • Not an answer but: in painting we have Classical Realism, where contemporary artists consciously shun the modern, and (roughly!) seek to perform the same kind of art-making as was done in former times. It seems reasonable to wonder if there might be composers working today for whom the Classical Style is better than anything that came after it. I'm sure there are plenty of listeners who think that.
    – AakashM
    May 25, 2017 at 14:35
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Why isn't there a classical composer like Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart today?
    – user26407
    Jun 2, 2018 at 7:17

2 Answers 2


This is indeed a very itchy question: It is obviously quite difficult for contemporaries to compose like Haydn or Mozart without appearing to be mere imitators - or worse: just nasty forgers! Unfortunately, there are indeed quite a lot of strange examples for the latter: Remember the counterfeits made by the famous violonist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) who claimed to have discovered works written by Gaetano Pugnani (1731-1798) or Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) only to satisfy his ego, because he had successfully duped the experts and critics. Another scandal was caused in 1993 by the famous professional recorder player and editor Winfried Michel (*1948), who successfully impressed the noted Haydn scholar H.C.Robbins Landon and the famous pianist couple Paul & Eva Badura-Skoda by presenting "long-lost works by Joseph Haydn", i.e. "six unknown piano sonatas" (which later turned out to be Winfried Michels own compositions or shall we say "skilled fakes"?)... But, and there definitely is a "but", there are other internationally acknowledged artists / interpreters of real classical music who somehow have managed to specialize in the composition techniques of the baroque era and therefore are really able to write in a genuine baroque style, so that you eventually cannot tell the difference between Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Gianluca Bersanetti (*1964) or the difference between Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) and Federico Maria Sardelli (*1963): In order to avoid any misunderstandings - Bersanetti and Sardelli do clearly point out that the publicly presented works (some of them can be found on YouTube) are their own compositions. They just want to show us that it can be great fun to revive baroque style in our modern(?) time, as a kind of refreshing experience after encountering and sometimes also suffering under the "Atonality Era" since the beginning of the 20th century...

I hope that this comment will be helpful for every interested subject!

Kind regards, A. Kono

  • Wow, this is fascinating. Great answer!
    – Richard
    Jul 26, 2018 at 15:37
  • It should be noted that Kreisler's fakes are fairly obvious to musicologists today; they were possible only because knowledge about "early" music (anything up to Bach) was very fragmentary in the 19th century. Apr 14, 2021 at 6:06

If by "known" you mean renowned, then no. Too much has happened in the 200 years since, and a professional composer simply couldn't bear ignoring a huge part of the possibilities which we now know to exist.

It can be done, sure, for instance when a director wants an authentic-sounding but non-authentic soundtrack for a period movie. Any competent professional musician can knock off something that superficially sounds like it might have been created in 1800. But they would never do this consistently of their own will, simply because it would feel so pointless.

The closest thing that does exist is works that deliberately mix styles or progress from one to another as a conscious deconstruction of music history. For instance, you could look up

  • Zsolt Gardonyi: Mozart changes
  • Alfred Schnittke: (K)ein Sommernachtstraum

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