Though I don't feature it here, I love and listen to classical music (various periods and composers) but consider myself to have limited knowledgeable on this wide subject and so don't post about any of my favourite pieces or cd's here (please feel free to do so in the comments).
I will make a change for once (and perhaps again in the future) to give you a taste of a composer that I was recommended to listen to by a friend on Progressive Ears forum.
The composer is Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), an American composer and pianist, whose music is very exotic and jovial.
Here's a little more info about him to help you understand his background a bit better, taken from this website:
"Gottschalk was also the first and, one might well argue, possibly the last pan-American composer and artist. Not only did he travel frequently outside the United States, as did, by necessity, most virtuoso pianists at the time; he also lived in South America and the Caribbean for extended periods of time, incorporating, without prejudice but with critical judgment, many local influences and musical traditions. He also was politically outspoken on issues such as slavery and the Civil War, and while a true American patriot, he did not spare his countrymen acrimonious criticism whenever he deemed it appropriate."
Website dedicated to the composer
List of works
French website dedicated to the composer