The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40 WQXR's "new music" channel Q2 and NPR Music asked listeners for their favorite composers under the age of 40. We received almost 800 suggestions and then narrowed the field down to 100 of the most promising young composers in the world. Listen to a stream of their compositions.

The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40

WQXR's Q2 Presents A Crowdsourced Selection Of Young Composers

This audio is no longer available.

From left: Tyondai Braxton, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Nico Muhly were selected by Q2's audience as part of this Composers Under 40 crowdsourcing project. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artists

From left: Tyondai Braxton, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Nico Muhly were selected by Q2's audience as part of this Composers Under 40 crowdsourcing project.

Courtesy of the artists

Part of Classical 105.9 WQXR, Q2 is a listener-supported, New York-based Internet stream devoted to the music of living composers. Follow Q2 on facebook/Q2 and Twitter/Q2music. For more information, visit

A few weeks ago, Q2 and NPR Music launched a crowdsourced project to determine listeners' favorite composers under the age of 40 — and, by extension, those pieces which were shaping our contemporary musical scene and defining what it means to be a composer in the 21st century. On Facebook, Twitter and the aggregating pages on Q2 and NPR Music, an international array of comments poured in, reaching almost 800 suggestions in total. With much debate and awareness of such a list's limitations, we've narrowed the field down to 100 composers, each represented by one song in a randomized stream on this page.

If there's any lesson in what a user-generated project such as this can offer, it's that the narrow notion of what it means to be a composer — writing in the shadow of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms — is well on its way to obsolescence. Forget dusty ideals of court or church appointments, or those notions of plumbing the depths of the soul for salvation. The 21st-century composer makes his home wherever he sees fit, uses a battery of electric guitars and drums in the same breath as a section of violins and violas, and performs for a rabidly dancing audience on one night and at a concert-hall subscription series the next.

How do you know when you're hearing a composer? All we can really say, to paraphrase the late Potter Stewart, is: "I know it when I hear it." We're thrilled that this project has brought together singer-songwriters and bandleaders, experimental musicians and technophiles, jazz artists and composition students, composer collectives and one-man shows, and couldn't be more excited to reclaim the terms "composer" and even "classical music" for a 21st-century vocabulary. Read below for a complete list of those 100 composers featured — and, most importantly, let us know your thoughts on what it means to compose in the 21st century.

100 Composers Under 40

  • Arooj Aftab
  • Andy Akiho
  • Karin Dreijer Andersson (The Knife)
  • Timothy Andres
  • Darcy James Argue
  • Ólafur Arnalds
  • Lera Auerbach
  • Rusty Banks
  • Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Ocrilim)
  • Mason Bates
  • Abbie Betinis
  • Andrew Bird
  • Jón Thór Birgisson (Jónsi, Sigur Rós)
  • Daníel Bjarnason
  • James Blackshaw
  • Tyondai Braxton
  • Peter Broderick
  • Caleb Burhans
  • Jason Cady
  • Ryan Carter
  • Christopher Cerrone
  • Ann Cleare
  • Anna Clyne
  • Zach Condon (Beirut)
  • Dan Deacon
  • Dennis DeSantis
  • Bryce Dessner (Clogs, The National)
  • Nicholas Deyoe
  • Avner Dorman
  • Alexandra du Bois
  • duYun
  • Steven Ellison (Flying Lotus)
  • Roshanne Etezady
  • Jefferson Friedman
  • Ben Frost
  • Ashley Rose Fure
  • Judd Greenstein
  • Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
  • Rachel Grimes
  • Ben Hackbarth
  • Joseph Hallman
  • Mary Halvorson
  • Andrew Hamilton
  • Imogen Heap
  • Ted Hearne
  • Tim Hecker
  • Robert Honstein
  • Matthew Hough
  • Takuma Itoh
  • Vijay Iyer
  • Colin Jacobsen
  • Richard D. James (Aphex Twin)
  • Gabriel Kahane
  • Mikael Karlsson
  • Zoe Keating
  • Amy Beth Kirsten
  • Andrea La Rose (Anti-Social Music)
  • David T. Little
  • Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors)
  • Charlie Looker (Extra Life)
  • David Ludwig
  • John Mackey
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa
  • Missy Mazzoli (Victoire)
  • Matt McBane
  • Clint McCallum
  • Alex Mincek (Wet Ink Ensemble)
  • Pat Muchmore (Anti-Social Music)
  • Nico Muhly
  • Eric Nathan
  • Angelica Negron
  • Jonathan Newman
  • Joanna Newsom
  • Andrew Norman
  • Dustin O'Halloran
  • Tarik O'Regan
  • Owen Pallett
  • Carter Pann
  • Jessica Pavone
  • Tristan Perich
  • Paola Prestini
  • Gabriel Prokofiev
  • Joel Puckett
  • Kevin Puts
  • Carl Schimmel
  • Aaron Siegel
  • Valgeir Sigurðsson
  • Sarah Kirkland Snider
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • D.J. Sparr
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Kjartan Sveinsson (Sigur Rós)
  • Joby Talbot
  • Anthony Vine
  • Matthew Welch
  • Keith Fullerton Whitman
  • Charlie Wilmoth
  • Daniel Wohl
  • Eric Wubbels
  • Katherine A. Young