Maurice Ravel Composer
Season 23/24 Artist

Biography

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), born in Ciboure, France, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz, began studying the piano at an early age. He joined the composition class taught by Gabriel Fauré in 1897. His early works composed in 1898 (Sites auriculaires, Schéhérazade) were poorly received, whereas the Pavane for a Dead Princess (1899) and Jeux d’eau (1901) brought him a certain fame. His cantata Myrrha was awarded with the second Prix de Rome in 1901, while Sonatine and Miroirs (1905), two essential pieces for piano, were a step forward in his research of harmonic.

In 1909, Maurice Ravel and Gabriel Fauré founded with other artists the Independent Musical Society to promote contemporary music, a movement that was hardly supported by the National Music Society. Following World War I, Ravel started a triumphant career as a conductor and pianist, touring in Europe and the United-States. Among his most famous compositions are Rapsodie espagnole (1907), Ma mère l’Oye and Gaspard de la nuit (1908), Valses nobles et sentimentales (1912), Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917), the Concerto pour la main gauche (1931). Maurice Ravel also wrote works specifically for dance: Daphnis et Chloé (1912), commissioned by Serge Diaghilev; Boléro (1928), commissioned for the dance company of Ida Rubinstein; La Valse (1920), initially commissioned then rejected by Diaghilev, and used in 1929 by Bronislava Nijinska for the Rubinstein Company. Two pieces were later adapted for dance: Ma mère l’Oye (Théâtre des Arts, 1912) and Adélaïde ou le Langage des fleurs (an adaptation of Valses nobles et sentimentales, 1912). Throughout the 20th century, many choreographers drew on his scores. Maurice Ravel also composed chamber music, melodies (Histoires naturelles, Don Quichotte à Dulcinée) and two operas: The Spanish Hour (1907) and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (1919-1925).

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  • on 30 March 2025 at 8 pm
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