An ordained minister known to many as the "Red Priest" because of his red hair, Antonio Vivaldi spent much of his working life as the music director at a Catholic orphanage for girls. Most of his early works were composed for the young women he taught; only later did he expand his horizons by composing operas and secular pieces for the world at large. Though popular in his native Venice for several decades, Vivaldi died in poverty and obscurity during a trip to Vienna.
Though he was known in his own lifetime almost exclusively for his skills as an organist, Johann Sebastian Bach exerted inestimable influence on later composers. Credited with perfecting the Western tonal system that is still in use today, Bach was also an astonishingly prolific composer; during much of his tenure as Kapellmeister in Leipzig, he created a new five-movement cantata every other week in addition to writing masses, motets, and intricate keyboard exercises for his students.