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Claude Balbastre

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Biography

Claude Balbastre (December 8, 1724 – May 9, 1799) was a French composer, organist and harpsichordist.

Claude Balbastre was born in Dijon in 1724. He received his first music lessons from his father, a church organist, then became a pupil of Claude Rameau, the younger brother of Jean-Philippe Rameau, the most famous French musician at the time and also a native of Dijon.

Balbastre settled in Paris in 1750 and studied there with Pierre Février, whom he succeeded as organist of the Saint Roch church. Jean-Philippe Rameau helped and protected Claude when the latter settled in the city, so Balbastre was quickly and efficiently introduced to the Parisian musical circles and high society, and made a brilliant career: he played at the Concert Spirituel until 1782, became organist of the Notre-Dame cathedral and of the Chapelle Royale, harpsichordist to the French royal court (he taught queen Marie-Antoinette) and organist for Louis-Stanislas-Xavier, Count of Provence (who later became Louis XVIII, King of France). His fame was so great that the archbishop of Paris had to forbid him to play at Saint Roch during some of the services, because the churches were always crowded when Balbastre played.

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