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 Jean-François Lesueur

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Jean-François Lesueur

  • Birth 15 Jan 1760
  • Death 6 Oct 1837
  • Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
  • Plot Division 11
  • Memorial ID 20254

Composer. He was an important link between the Classical and Romantic movements in French music. Born into a distinguished family at Drucat-Plessiel, near Abbeville, he studied music at the College of Amiens and came to Paris at age 24. As music director of the Notre Dame Cathedral from 1786 to 1788, Lesueur introduced the orchestra into his sacred vocal works, an innovation that stirred much controversy. The success of his operas "La Caverne" (1793) and "Paul et Virginie" (1794) led to his appointment as inspector of the newly-founded Paris Conservatory, but he publicly quarrelled with his superiors and was fired in 1802. Luckily he had a devoted patron in Napoleon I, who appointed him Composer of the Chapel and awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor; he wrote a Te Deum for the emperor's coronation in 1804. Later he held similar positions with Louis XVIII and Charles X, while also serving as an officer in the Academie des Beaux-Arts (from 1813). In 1818 he returned to the Conservatory as professor of composition, a post he held until his death. His other opuses include the operas "Telemaque" (1796) and "Ossian" (1804), a Christmas Oratorio (1826), two Passions (1829), and the cantata "Rachel" (circa 1830). Aside from his musical accomplishments, Lesueur was a brilliant and sympathetic teacher. He was the first to recognize the genius of Berlioz and a dozen of his pupils went on to win the Conservatory's Prix de Rome, among them Gounod and Ambroise Thomas. In this capacity alone Lesueur exerted a considerable influence over much of 19th Century music in his country.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 10 Feb 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20254
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jean-François Lesueur (15 Jan 1760–6 Oct 1837), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20254, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .