This dissertation provides new insights on creativity and the lives of creative people, by availing of unique data-sets covering the lives, works and emotional states of famous music composers. The underlying research documents the long-run persistence of a society’s preference towards cultural goods and shows that the geography of composer births displays remarkable continuity over a period of seven centuries. It formalizes and documents the trade-off between agglomeration economies (beneficial peer effects) and diseconomies (peer crowding) experienced by music composers. Furthermore, it is explored how peer crowding impacts composers’ emotional well-being. The results point to a large reduction in composers’ longevity, if they are located in cities where the peer competition has been greater. Finally, the determinants of psychological well-being are studied and quantitative evidence is provided on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity – an association hypothesized across several disciplines since Antiquity; however, not yet convincingly established.