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Even the great composers were children were once – and we’ve found the pictures and portraits that prove it. Scroll through our gallery and see how many you can guess.
By the time he was 12, this young composer had already written four operas and 12 string symphonies – putting Mozart’s achievements by the same age in the shade.
Feliz Mendelssohn is often said to be the greatest ever child prodigy. If you want to hear the evidence for yourself, listen to his String Octet, written at the tender age of 16.
This young composer wrote his first opera at the age of 11 and at the age of 14 wrote out the music for Allegri’s 'Miserere' after hearing the piece only once… (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
The composer went on to write masterpieces including his operas 'Don Giovanni' and 'The Marriage of Figaro' as well as his 'Jupiter' Symphony and much more.
This composer wrote a set of piano variations when he was 11 and was taught by another great composer, Haydn…
The great German composer went on to write some of the best-loved classical masterpieces including his Symphony No. 5 and the ‘Emperor’ Piano Concerto.
This composer went on to have a love affair with George Sand (whose real name was Aurore Dudevant). But who is he?
Frederic Chopin is Poland’s greatest composer and is best known for his sumptuously Romantic piano music.
This American composer captured the spirit of the early 20th century with his jazz-inflected music.
George Gershwin, who was born in 1898, wrote some of the most famous music of the ‘20s and ‘30s including the 'An American in Paris' tone poem and 'Rhapsody in Blue'.
This composer went on to say: “The traditional way of life of the Norwegian people, together with Norway’s legends, Norway’s history, Norway’s natural scenery, stamped itself on my creative imagination from my earliest years.” Who is it?
This composer and pianist triggered such a hysterical reaction when he performed live that commentators since have compared him to The Beatles.
Edvard Grieg was born in 1843 and among his most famous works are the ‘Peer Gynt’ Suite (including ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’) and his Piano Concerto in A minor.
By the age of nine Liszt had already mastered Ferdinand Ries’s fiendishly difficult E flat major Piano Concerto. He went on to become a piano sensation and one of the great composers of the Romantic era.
This 20th-century composer was already composing by the age of six.
Sergei Prokofiev is perhaps best-known for writing works including 'Romeo and Juliet' and the 'Lieutenant Kijé' Suite
This German composer began composing seriously at the age of six…
Richard Strauss lived through some of the most turbulent times of the 20th century, and also produced some of the best music of the period, including the opera 'Ariadne auf Naxos' and the semi-autobiographical tone poem 'Ein Heldenleben'.
This budding composer had a go at teaching – the profession of his father – but hated it so much he turned to composing instead.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed his first masterpiece ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ in the year he began teaching.
This Finnish composer was something of a late starter compared to his composing colleagues, only starting piano lessons when he was nine.
Jean Sibelius died in 1957 but his final major piece, ‘Tapiola’ was written in 1926. He worked on an Eighth Symphony in his final years, but burned his work – to the dismay of music lovers ever since.
This composer showed so little natural musical ability he was the only one in his family not to receive piano lessons.
Richard Wagner went on to write some of the most monumental and ground-breaking works in musical history, including ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and the ‘Ring’ cycle.
This composer's work has regularly topped the Classic FM Hall of Fame, our poll of the nation's favourite classical music.
Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of the best known and best loved British composers who ever lived. His music includes 'The Lark Ascending' and the 'Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis'.