Italian composer (29 February 1792 — 13 November 1868), best known for the following:
- The overture from William Tell, an otherwise rarely-played opera.
- The Barber of Seville, from which both the overture and the Factotum Aria are highly recognisable.
- La Cenerentola, an operatic adaptation of "Cinderella".
- Gazza Ladra, better known as The Thieving Magpie.
Basically, you know a lot of Rossini's overtures (specially if you've seen A Clockwork Orange). Chances are you don't know anything about what goes after. According to legend, Rossini was also known for being very lazy: he was lying on his bed to write, and when a piece of paper was falling, he started again from the beginning so he wouldn't have to move.
He was also a noted procrastinator: he claimed to have composed The Barber of Seville in only 12 days, and to have written the famous "William Tell Overture" a few hours before the opera opened. Finally, once he'd written enough to make himself rich, he went into semi-retirement: he stopped writing operas entirely, and only composed the occasional cantata or other bit of short vocal music. The rest of his time he parlayed into his greatest passion: food. He was reportedly quite the gourmet and chef as well.
His overtures share a similar structure.