Claude Debussy, Composer

La Mer (excerpt one)
La Mer (excerpt two)

Dates

Born August 22, 1862 in Saint Germain-en-Laye, France 
Died March 25, 1918 in Paris, France

Nationality

French

Style/Period

Modern 1920-Present

Famous Works

Pelléas et Mélisande, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), La Mer

Bio

Claude Debussy's parents had many talents and many jobs. When Debussy was born, his father was running a china shop and working as a traveling salesman and a printer's assistant. His mother also helped out in the china shop and worked as a seamstress.

When he was ten years old, Debussy's musical talents were discovered by his piano teacher and he was sent to the Conservatory in Paris. At the Conservatory, Debussy studied piano without much success. He failed two piano tests and decided to study composition. Debussy won second prize in the Prix de Rome in 1883 and then in 1884, he won first prize with his composition L'enfant prodigue.

Debussy continued to compose and in 1894, he completed one of his most famous works Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun). Six years later he met and married Rosalie Texier and he began working as a music critic. Sadly, the marriage to Rosalie Texier did not last. Debussy fell in love with singer Emma Bardac and later married her.

In 1918, Debussy died of cancer.