Composer. His style typified French Romantic music of the late 1800s, with its seductive melodies and gently expressive orchestral sense. Of Massenet's 25 operas, two are still performed today: "Manon" (1884) and "Thais" (1894). The "Elegie" for cello and piano, from his incidental music to "Les Erynnes" (1873), and the "Meditation" from "Thais" are his best-known instrumental pieces. Massenet was born in Montaud, France. He studied at the Paris Conservatory and won its prestigious Prix de Rome in 1863. Later he taught composition there, with his students including Gustave Charpentier, Gabriel Pierne, and Florent Schmitt. In 1878 Massenet became the youngest person to be elected to France's Academie de Beaux Arts. His music, lovely and charming at its best, was never very deep, and once he hit upon a successful formula he was loathe to relinquish it. After 1900 his popularity faded because he refused to adapt to new musical trends. A bust of Massenet was placed at the Opera Comique in 1934.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Louise Constance de Gressy Massenet
1841–1938 (m. 1866)