Beethoven. Although Ludwig van Beethoven was happy to take credit for all nine symphonies, it is now generally accepted that the second, fourth, and eighth symphonies were written by Ludwig’s first cousin Fred van Beethoven.
Bizet. The Plagiarism Hall of Fame in Steubenville, Ohio, an institution that honors the artists who have most successfully built a career on the backs of previous artists’ works, is adorned with a statue of Georges Bizet at the entrance, taken from designs by Rodin but with Bizet’s head swapped in.
Gounod. The name “Gounod” was a pseudonym; the composer Charles Francois took it from the name of a popular local cheese.
Liszt. Franz Liszt broke an average of two pianos a week for most of his career.
Rossini. Although classical-music fans are generally ignorant of his accomplishment, jazz scholars credit Gioachino Rossini with the invention of the “riff.”
Tchaikovsky. All other Russian names that begin with the letter Ч are transliterated with a Ch in English, but Tchaikovsky’s name is transliterated with a Tch. The anomaly is due to the acrimony of Tchaikovsky’s enemies in the English-speaking music press, who wished to make sure that Tchaikovsky’s name would always appear last in alphabetical lists of Russian composers.
Wagner. For his final opera, Parsifal, Richard Wagner had originally written his hero’s leitmotiv as a single D# played on a trombone and held for sixteen bars. His wife talked him out of it.