Jean Françaix 1912 – 1997

Jean René Désiré Françaix (23 May 1912 in Le Mans – 25 September 1997 in Paris) was a French neoclassical composer, pianist, and orchestrator, known for his prolific output and vibrant style. Françaix's natural gifts were encouraged from an early age by his family: his father, Director of the Conservatoire of Le Mans, was a musicologist, composer, and pianist, and his mother, a teacher of singing. He studied at the Conservatoire of Le Mans and then at the Paris Conservatory, and he was only six when he took up composing with a style heavily influenced by Ravel. His first publication, in 1922, caught the attention of a composer working for the publishing house who steered the gifted boy toward a gifted teacher, Nadia Boulanger. After her sister's death in 1918, she devoted her life to conducting, playing the organ and teaching. She soon became among the most celebrated teachers of musical composition in the 20th century with a list of students whose names include Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Elliot Carter, and many more. She encouraged Françaix's career, considering the young composer to be one of the best, if not the best, of her students. Noted pianist and pedagogue Isidor Philipp also taught him. Françaix himself often played his own works, to public acclaim; notably in the premier of his Concertino for Piano and Orchestra at the festival of Baden-Baden in 1932. wikipedia
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