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Jean-Féry Rebel

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Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747) was an innovative French Baroque composer and violinist.

Rebel (pronounced re-BEL) was a student of the great composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. By 1699 Rebel had become first violinist of the Académie royale de musique (Royal Academy of Music) and at the Opéra. Rebel went to Spain in 1700. Upon his return to France in 1705 he was given a place in the 24 Violons du Roy (Violins of the King). Rebel served as court composer, maître de musique at the Académie, and director of the Concert spirituel.

In honor of his teacher, Rebel composed Le Tombeau de M. Lully (literally, the Tomb of Monsieur Lully; figuratively, A Tribute to Lully). Some of Rebel’s compositions were choreographed “symphonies.” His Les Caractères de la danse presented the leading dance rhythms of the time and combined music with dance. The work was popular and was performed in London in 1725 under the baton of George Frideric Handel.

The Rebel Baroque Orchestra, formed in 1991, was named in his honor.

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