The beginnings of professional musical culture in Slovak territory are connected to the period after 1918, when professional educational and cultural institutions started to develop (Slovak National Opera – 1920, Musical and theoretical seminar at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Comenius – 1921, Music and Drama Academy Slovakia – 1928, Symphony Orchestra of Czechoslovak Radio – 1929). During the period between World Wars a very strong generation of composers appeared, later known as Slovak musical modernism. Composers like Alexander Moyzes, Eugen Suchoň and Ján Cikker, who obtained the musical education in Prague by Vítězslav Novák, belong here. Along with them, also the career of Ľudovít Rajter started, who was a graduate of the musical academies in Vienna and Budapest, and later it was followed by first pupils of Moyzes’s composing academy – Ladislav Holoubek, Andrej Očenáš, Dezider Kardoš, Šimon Jurovský and Tibor Frešo.
The end of the 50s and the beginning of 60s brought a dynamical twist into Slovak music, the rise of a generation of avant-garde composers. Young composers, mostly students or fresh graduates of Slovak Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava started to express their ambition to unbind from the local tradition and to reflect the inspirational sources from so called “new music”. Crucial personalities of these activities were Ilja Zeljenka, Ladislav Kupkovič, Peter Kolman, Roman Berger, Miro Bázlik, Pavol Šimai, Jozef Malovec, Ivan Parík, later followed also by Ivan Hrušovský, Juraj Pospíšil, Juraj Hatrík, Jozef Sixta, Tadeáš Salva, Juraj Beneš and Dušan Martinček.
The period of the 70s had brought composers who mostly stood critically towards the avant-garde endeavors. Hanuš Domanský, Igor Dibák and Jozef Podprocký leaned towards neo-classicism. The avant-garde tendencies are still represented by Vladimír Bokes.
Another important milestone in the history of Slovak music is considered to be the increase of young generation of composers at the beginning of 80s. These composers began to create new musical poetics, connected to the ideas of post-modernism. Above all, it is defined by the elimination of the complicity of music, the effort to come closer to the listeners and also by the inspirations of American minimalism and fusion with music of non-artificial genres (jazz, rock, pop). Here, we mention great composers, such as Vladimír Godár, Iris Szeghy, Víťazoslav Kubička, Martin Burlas, Peter Martinček, Norbert Bodnár, later also Daniel Matej, Peter Zagar and Marek Piaček.