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Classical Composers A-Z: Leo Delibes

Peter Wintersgill tell us something of Leo Delibes, composer of the ballets Coppelia and Sylvia.

Born
21st February, 1836, in St. Germaine-du-Val, near Le Mans.

Childhood
Entered Paris Conservatoire at 10, taught by Adolphe Adun, who wrote Giselle.

Adult Life
He started as church organist and wrote operettas. However, he was best known as a ballet composer, e.g. Coppelia (1870) and Sylvia (1876). Both were admired by Tchaikovsky and both have lasted well. His real masterpiece, however, was the opera Lakme (1883). He also wrote incidental music for plays, e.g. Le Roi s’Amuse (1882).

He was made Professor of Composition at Paris Conservatoire in 1881.

He died 16th January, 1891, in Paris, aged 54.

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