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François Devienne

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François Devienne (January 31, 1759 - September 5, 1803) was a French composer and professor for flute at the Paris Conservatory.

François Devienne was born in Joinville (Haute-Marne), as the youngest of fourteen children of a saddlemaker. After receiving his first musical training as a choirboy in his hometown, he was playing in various Parisian ensembles as soloist and orchestra player. He studied the flute with Félix Rault and in 1780 he joined the household of Cardinal de Rohan. He was active in Paris as a flautist, bassoonist and composer, and played bassoon at the Paris Opera. He wrote successful operas in the 1790s, including Les visitandines (1792) which brought him much success.

He was also a member of the ‘Military Band of the French Guard’ where he was given the rank of sergeant with the duty of teaching the children of his colleagues in the military band in its Free School of Music. After the Revolutionary period, when Free School became the National Institute of Music, later chartered as the Paris Conservatory in 1795, François Devienne was appointed an administrator and flute professor. He wrote an important Flute School ‘Méthode de Flûte Théorique et Pratique’ (1793), which was reprinted several times and did much to improve the level of French wind music in the late 18th century. Like many other musicians, he joined the freemasons and ‘Concerts de la Loge Olympique’ orchestra.

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