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Darius Milhaud


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Darius Milhaud (September 4, 1892 – June 22, 1974) was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six - also known as the Groupe des Six - and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century.

Born to a Jewish family in Aix-en-Provence, Milhaud studied in Paris at the Paris Conservatory where he met his fellow group members Arthur Honegger and Germaine Tailleferre. He studied composition under Charles Widor and harmony and counterpoint with André Gédalge. In addition he studied privately with Vincent D’Indy. As a young man he worked for a while in the diplomatic entourage of Paul Claudel, the eminent poet and dramatist, who was serving as ambassador to Brazil.

On a trip to the US in 1922, he discovered jazz, which left a great impact on his musical outlook. He left France in 1939 and emigrated to America in 1940 (his Jewish background made it impossible for him to return to his native country until after the Liberation); he secured a teaching post at Mills College in Oakland, California.

From 1947 to 1971 he taught alternate years at Mills and the Paris Conservatoire; Notable students of Milhaud include Iannis Xenakis, Morton Subotnick, Dave Brubeck, Burt Bacharach and Steve Reich. Poor health, which caused him to use a wheelchair during his later years (beginning sometime before 1947), compelled him to retire. He died in Geneva.


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  • lelusio

    Interesting that such a fat guy wrote such good ballets...[4]

    2 Nov 2014 Reply
  • IAmDillin

    Fun fact: Milhaud was one of the first people to use the turntable as a musical instrument - way back in 1920!

    11 May 2013 Reply
  • vamosscorcho

    I take interest in his solo piano works.

    18 Dec 2011 Reply
  • zrsullivan

    Imagine the effort it took to cultivate that gut. Bear in mind, he lived a generation before dollar loaves of nutrient-stripped bread. I reckon Milhaud followed a diet similar to De Niro preparing for his role as fat LaMotta. Finest french pastries, cheeses, & wine. Meanwhile, his ear for timbre & rhythm is divine!

    6 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Rainman45


    24 Apr 2011 Reply
  • ACS360

    Interesting that such a fat guy wrote such good ballets...[3]

    27 Mar 2011 Reply
  • emaskye

    the orchestration of saudades do brasil makes me feel ridiculously happy

    20 Mar 2011 Reply
  • Equality7-2521

    Interesting that such a fat guy wrote such good ballets...[2]

    30 Dec 2010 Reply
  • freezegelman

    Awww, Les Six. SO FRENCH!

    11 Dec 2010 Reply
  • Ethaneeze

    Anyone have a recording of Suite Francaise?

    5 Nov 2010 Reply
  • lelusio

    Le Boeuf Sur le Toit <3 [2]

    12 Jun 2010 Reply
  • painterface

    I just heard Le Carnaval de Londres on the radio today and LOVED it!

    24 May 2010 Reply
  • kieleke

    KraeheK wrote: "Interesting that such a fat guy wrote such good ballets..." Ok that must've been a joke but WHAT does fatness to do with musical creativity?

    28 Jan 2010 Reply
  • gEEEERa

    Op. 83b and op. 286 ftw!

    12 Jan 2010 Reply
  • KraeheK

    Interesting that such a fat guy wrote such good ballets...

    18 Dec 2009 Reply
  • mikezehnder

    It's wonderful to listen to the influences of the greats! Brubeck was Milhaud's student and had such an effect on him that he named his son after him.

    8 Jul 2008 Reply
  • zrsullivan

    & ah, his 'Clarinet Concerto'! Monsieur Milhaud could fuse the abstract & the commonplace (avec génie en plus).

    22 Jun 2008 Reply
  • zrsullivan

    If 'Quatre Visages for Viola & Piano' can move a crumb like me to tears, it ought to be in a jukebox at your local 50's diner. (Shame on you, Johnny Rockets).

    22 Jun 2008 Reply
  • SecretsSet-up


    19 May 2008 Reply
  • Etche_homo

    There's a gorgeous trio for clarinet, violin and piano that's worth looking for; the Verdehr trio recorded it, but it's elsewhere as well.

    15 Feb 2008 Reply
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