Despite the spectacular failure of his opera Antony and Cleopatra, American composer Samuel Barber made an enduring contribution to the cultural life of the United States and the world.
The life of eccentric British composer, painter, and novelist Baron Berners was a grand performance.
For most of his life, the specter of the closet lurked threateningly behind the glamorous and often brash public image of American composer Leonard Bernstein.
American composer Marc Blitzstein, whose homosexuality probably inspired his sympathy for outsiders, attempted to write politically relevant music, and in doing so influenced other composers to blend classical and popular forms.
Perhaps the greatest teacher of musical composition in the twentieth century, Nadia Boulanger greatly influenced modern classical music.
Perhaps the most acclaimed British choreographer working today, Matthew Bourne is best known for his homoerotic updatings and deconstructions of classic ballets.
The most acclaimed British composer of the twentieth century, Benjamin Britten created many works that were inspired by his long-time personal and professional relationship with his lover, Peter Pears.
Italian avant-garde composer Sylvano Bussotti is among the most important artists to bring a polymorphous sexuality onto the operatic and concert stage.
The music of controversial American composer John Cage contains little autobiographical or gay content, but his ironic emphasis on the importance of silence in music may comment on the imposed silence of the closet.
Male singers who were castrated before they reached puberty, castrati reached the height of their popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; although not necessarily homosexual, they occupy a "queer space" in cultural history.
Award-winning French director, screenwriter, and actor Patrice Chéreau has earned international renown for his visionary, often controversial, productions of opera, theater, and film
Widely recognized as one of the world's greatest pianists, Shura Cherkassky performed for more than 75 years, enjoying the longest career in the history of classical pianism.
Since they were first established in the 1970s, lesbian and gay musical organizations have grown remarkably in number, size, and sophistication.
American pianist Van Cliburn became a national hero when he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War, but his brilliant career as a performer stalled in the 1970s.
In spite of the presence of many gay, lesbian, and bisexual figures in the field of classical music, it is difficult to identify more than a handful of self-identified, openly gay or lesbian conductors even in the early years of the twenty-first century.
Despite his outsider status as a Jewish homosexual, Aaron Copland composed a significant number of musical works that embody the idea of American history, struggle, and courage.
Arcangelo Corelli, who was probably homosexual, was one of the seventeenth century's most widely admired composers and performers.
American composer of symphonies, chamber works, choral settings, operas, and film scores, John Corigliano has created some of the most moving music inspired by the AIDS epidemic.
American composer Henry Cowell was an important innovator whose brilliant career was severely damaged when he was arrested and imprisoned for having sex with a seventeen-year-old male.
Perhaps the most renowned living British composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has created over three hundred works encompassing virtually every genre of classical music.
Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer and pianist David Del Tredici, known for his famous "Alice" works and neo-Romantic style, has also written music concerned with gay experience.
One of the leading American composers of the twentieth century, David Diamond created music that is melodic and lyrical even as it jumps with modern energy.
The diva has traditionally played a significant role in both gay and lesbian culture as an object of cult worship with whom those who suffer the heartaches of forbidden love and ostracism from an unaccepting society find solace and identification.
One of the most illustrious of twentieth-century Spanish composers, Manuel de Falla may have emigrated from Spain in reaction to the homophobia of the Franco regime.
Composer Ricky Ian Gordon, often seen as an heir to the musical legacy of Stephen Sondheim, has been praised for the lyrical quality of his music and for bridging the worlds of theater and art song.