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Biography

Jacques François Antoine Ibert (August 15, 1890 – February 5, 1962) studied under Paul Vidal at the Paris Conservatoire and won the Prix de Rome in 1919 for his cantata Le poète et la fée. From 1937 he was director of the French Academy in Rome, and from 1955 to 1957 directed Paris's Opéra-Comique. He died in Paris.

Ibert's music is considered to be typically quite "light" in character, often witty, colourfully orchestrated with attractive melodies. Although he was not a member of Les Six, his music shares some characteristics with theirs. His best known work is probably the orchestral Divertissement (1930), based on his incidental music for Eugène Labiche's play, Un Chapeau de paille d'Italie (The Italian Straw Hat). In the course of the work he comically quotes many pieces, including Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Other prominent pieces include Escales (1924) for orchestra, the symphonic poem La Ballade de la geôle de Reading (based on the poem by Oscar Wilde), his concerto for flute and Concertino da Camera for saxophone and Histoires for solo piano. He composed a number of operas, such as L'Aiglon (The Eaglet), and the operetta Les Petites Cardinal, some together with Arthur Honegger. Among his film scores is the one for Orson Welles' version of Macbeth (1948). In 1956 he wrote the work Bacchanale to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the BBC Third Programme. Its premiere was given by Eugene Goossens. In addition, he wrote some chamber music of merit.

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