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.
Perhaps the greatest teacher of musical composition in the twentieth century, Nadia Boulanger greatly influenced modern classical music.
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.
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.
Singer, talk show host, and a creator and producer of television shows, Merv Griffin remained in the closet even as his bisexuality was an open secret within show business communities.
German composer and conductor Hans Werner Henze is remarkable for his ability to employ a wide range of styles, from those of the avant-garde to opulent neo-Romanticism, especially in his many stage and concert works.
Hildegard of Bingen, a German Benedictine abbess, mystic, scientific and theological writer, dramatist, and composer, formed a strong emotional attachment to a young nun and wrote music that expresses physical and spiritual desire for the Virgin Mary.
The British concert pianist Stephen Hough is among the most talented and most highly acclaimed classical musicians of his generation.
Prominent American artist Delmas Howe seeks to visualize gay history by linking the past with the present in intensely homoerotic, deceptively naturalistic paintings.
Seventeenth-century composer Jean Baptiste Lully established the basic principles of French opera, but his career declined as the result of a homosexual scandal.
One of the leading classical composers of the twentieth century, Gian Carlo Menotti not only had a distinguished career, but also achieved acclaim at a time when his uncloseted homosexuality could have been a major barrier.
Conductor and composer Dimitri Mitropoulos achieved great success in the world of classical music, but was yet another victim of McCarthy-era homophobia.
Classical music is an important component of Western culture to which glbt people have contributed significantly.
Best known to television viewers for his role as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on the series M*A*S*H, David Ogden Stiers has had a long and successful career.
One of the greatest composers in the history of music, Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky inspired a cult of gay admirers who detected in his work themes of forbidden love.
One of the most prominent American conductors of his generation, Michael Tilson Thomas may be the first gay conductor to achieve such eminence without masking his sexuality.
Siegfried Wagner, the son of composer Richard Wagner, was himself a prolific composer and conductor; his bisexuality was the source of both scandal and also of elaborate attempts to erase it from histories of the Wagner family.