Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was one of the towering figures in French music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and greatly influenced many later composers world-wide. He was born in Pamiers in the south of France, but was sent to Paris at the age of nine, to study at the Ècole Niedermayer in Paris, with teachers including Camille Saint-Saëns. He later became a regular at the salons of Saint-Saëns, and also eventually succeeded his former teacher as choir master at the Èglise de la Madeleine.
In 1870, he served in the army during the Franco-Prussian War. Following a broken engagement in 1877, he went travelling, spending some time in Germany where he met Liszt and Wagner.
He married in 1883, continued to hold various positions and to compose songs and piano music, slowly developing his very personal and harmonically complex musical style.
At the age of fifty-one, he finally became chief organist at the Èglise de la Madeleine, and months later he was appointed composition teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, where his pupils included Maurice Ravel, Nadia Boulanger and George Enescu. In 1905 he became director of the Conservatoire in the aftermath of the scandal of the refusal of the Prix de Rome to Ravel.
He retired from the Conservatoire in 1920, mainly due to his increasing deafness, but continued composing until his death at 79.
Choral music: Requiem
Other Vocal music: songs (Après un Rêve, En prière, Sylvia etc) and song cycles (La Bonne Chanson, Le Jardin Clos etc)
Piano music: Barcarolles, Nocturnes, Impromptus
Chamber music: Two Violin Sonatas, two Cello Sonatas, String Quartet, Piano Trio, Piano Quartet, two Piano Quintets
Orchestral: Ballade (piano and orchestra), Fantasie (piano and orchestra), Elégie (cello and orchestra), Berceuse (violin and orchestra), Masques et Bergamasques, incidental music for Pelléas et Mélisande