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Composers

Composers

Bellini, Vincenzo

Born in 1801 in Catania, Sicily, to a family already steeped in music; his father and grandfather were both career musicians, Bellini began composing before receiving any formal music education. He entered the Royal College of Music of San Sebastiano,...

Berlioz, Hector

The quintessential Romantic composer, Hector Berlioz was born in Grenoble in 1803, moving to Paris in the 1820s to study medicine at his father’s insistence – where he began to study music in earnest, spending much time at the Opéra....

Donizetti, Gaetano

Born in Bergamo in 1797, Donizetti studied under Mayr and had his first success in 1822 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome with Zoraida di Granata (original version available on Opera Rara ORC17). That success led to a contract in Naples and a number...

Gounod, Charles

Charles Gounod is best known for his operas Faust and Romeo et Juliette and for his Ave Maria (1859). Except for concertos, he composed music in the major genres, but with varying success in the instrumental realm. Gounod was more at home in the...

Leoncavallo, Ruggero

Italian composer and librettist Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857–1919) is best known today for his one-act verismo masterpiece Pagliacci, for which he also wrote the libretto. Born in Naples to a well-to-do family – his father was a magistrate...

Massenet, Jules

Massenet was a prolific, meticulous composer who wrote 30 or so operas, numerous oratorios and around 200 songs. Born in 1842, he entered the Paris Conservatoire aged just 11, going on to study with the composer Ambroise Thomas. In 1862, aged 20,...