31 May 1656
Paris, Île-de-France, France
15 August 1728 (aged 72)
Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris – 15 August 1728, Paris) was a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Lully and of the viol player Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician, and in 1679 was appointed "ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole", a title he kept until 1725.
He was a master of the viola da gamba, and the leading French composer of viol music. He wrote five books of Pièces de viole for the instrument, generally suites with basso continuo. These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert le Blanc, 1740). His other works include operas, Alcyone (1706) being noted for its tempest scene.
As with Sainte-Colombe, little of Marin Marais' personal life was known after he reached adulthood. Marin Marais married a Parisian, Catherine Damicourt, on 21 September 1676. They had 19 children together.
Facsimiles of all five books of Marais' Pièces de viole are published by Éditions J.M. Fuzeau.
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