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Classical Composers A-Z: Paul Dukas

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Paul Dukas, composer of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Born
1st October, 1865, in Paris.

Adolescence
Studied at Paris Conservatoire with Giraud 1881 – 1889.

Adult Life
His best known orchestral work was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1897) based on Goethe’s poem. Another is the Symphony in C (1896). His finest work of all, though, is his opera Ariane et Barbe Bleu (1907), often compared with Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande.

He was a very meticulous and self critical composer, often destroying his works, especially the later ones, before publication. He was also critical of the works of others in his position as a music critic.

He was made Professor of Composition at the Paris Conservatoire in 1909, during which time he wrote a ballet La Peri (1912) and a piano sonata in B Flat Minor and edited the works of Beethoven and Rameau.

He died 17th May, 1935, in Paris, aged 69.

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