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Cécile Louise Chaminade

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Biography

Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade (August 8, 1857 – April 13, 1944) was a French composer and pianist.

Born in Paris, she studied at first with her mother, then with Félix Le Couppey, Savart, Martin Pierre Joseph Marsick, and Benjamin Godard, but not officially, since her father disapproved of her musical education.

Her first experiments in composition took place in very early days, and in her eighth year she played some of her sacred music to Georges Bizet, the composer of Carmen, who was much impressed with her talents. She gave her first concert when she was eighteen, and from that time on her work as a composer gained steadily in favor. She wrote mostly character pieces for piano, and salon songs, almost all of which were published.

She toured France several times in those earlier days, and in 1892 made her début in England, where her work was extremely popular.

Chaminade married a music publisher from Marseilles, Louis-Mathieu Carbonel, in 1901, and on account of his advanced age the marriage was rumored to be one of convenience. He died in 1907, and Chaminade did not remarry.

In 1908 she visited the United States, and was accorded a very hearty welcome from her innumerable admirers in this country. Her compositions were tremendous favorites with the American public, and such pieces as the Scarf dance or the Ballet No. 1 are to be found in the music libraries of all cultured lovers of piano music.

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