Hungary became Christian in the 11th century, and has mostly been dominated by foreign settlers and invaders till the 20th century, especially from Austria. It became a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the 17th century. After the 1st World War it was briefly independent, but after the second world war it became a satellite of the Soviet Union, which it remained until it became an entirely free and independent country in 1989.

The classical period saw  Haydn, who was born in Austria,  work in Eszterhazy, in Hungary, for 30 years. Although born in Hungary, Liszt did not speak Hungarian, but German, and he lived abroad most of his life. However, in 1875 he returned to Budapest to become president of the Budapest Academy of Music. From then on he had a strong influence on the development of Hungarian music.   Lehar, Bartok and Kodaly are more recent composers from Hungary.