Maurice Ravel was born on March 7th 1875 in Ciboure, France, a small town in southwestern France less than two miles from the French-Spanish border.
Influence of living so close to Spain was later evident in such pieces as the famous ballet “Bolero”.
Ravel showed great promise at a young age. To further develop his talent, at age 14 he entered the Paris Conservatoire.
Perhaps best known, along with Claude Debussy, as a Romantic impressionist composer and leading figure in the music of modernism. However, his Piano Concerto in G and Sonatine follow a more classical structure.
His first major success was the virtuosic piano piece “Jeux d’eau”.
During World War I Ravel applied to join the military but was declined entry because of his small stature and frail body type. He instead volunteered as an ambulance driver.
Ravel did not travel much and after moving from Ciboure early in life, he lived out his remaining days in Paris. His one big trip was to America in 1928 where he met George Gershwin and Charlie Chapman.
In 1932 he contracted Pick’s disease, a rare form of dementia and died 5 years later in 1937 at the age of 62.