Composer. He had a considerable influence on 20th Century French music, quite apart from Impressionism. His unpretentious style combined harmonic and rythmic originality with a popular spirit. Among his compositions are the brilliant orchestral rhapsody "Espana" (1883), the operas "Gwendoline" (1885) and "Le Roi malgre lui" (1887), and the "Picturesque Pieces" for piano. Alexis Emmanuel Chabrier was born in Ambert, Puy de Dome, France. He studied music in his youth but his family intended him for a life of civil service. From 1861 to 1880 he was employed at the French Ministry of the Interior. The success of his early operetta "L'Etoile" (1877) and a hearing of Richard Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde" encouraged Chabrier to devote himself to composing, and he was appointed chorus master of the Lamoureux Concerts in 1881. He died of syphillis, leaving an opera, "Briseis," unfinished. Erik Satie, Maurice Ravel, Jacques Ibert, and Francis Poulenc were all inspired by Chabrier's music. Poulenc wrote an affectionate book about him, "Emmanuel Chabrier" (1960).
Bio by: Bobb Edwards