Introduction To The Composer | Camille Saint-saens

Camille Saint-saens was born on October 9th, 1835 in Paris, France.

A child prodigy, his mother and aunt began teaching him piano at the age of only two, and by age three he was already composing his won works. Furthermore, by age 10, he was performing concertos by Beethoven and Mozart.

Aside from being an outstanding pianist, he was also an amateur scientist, a poet, an essayist, and dramatist who showed interest in other subjects such as philosophy, geology, astronomy, and archeology.

In 1857, he was appointed organist at the Madeleine church in Paris, a position which he held for 20 years.

Fellow composer, Franz Liszt, said that Saint-saens was the greatest composer in the world after hearing him improvise.

Saint-saens assembled a very large library of musical compositions throughout his career which included choral and keyboard works, symphonic poems including “Danse Macabre” and “Carnaval of Animals”, operas, incidental music such as “Samson and Delilah”, symphonies, and concertos.

Camille Saint-saens died on December 16th, 1921 in Algiers, Algeria at the age of 86.

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th, 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia. 

 

Unlike in many European countries, a serious career in music was not as socially acceptable in Russia during this time. For this reason, Tchaikovsky first studied law and then worked for a few years as a government clerk. His inner drive to become a musician eventually led him to quit his job and, in 1861, enter the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he studied composition under Anton Rubinstein.