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Pierre Monteux (1875 - 1964)


Pierre Monteux was born into a musical family: his mother, Madame Monteux-Brissac, taught at the Paris Conservatoire, and his elder brother Paul began to teach him to play the violin when he was six. Three years later he entered the Conservatoire where he studied violin, harmony and counterpoint. Having first conducted when he was twelve, from 1890 Monteux was a violist in the orchestras of the Opéra-Comique and of the Concerts Colonne. He was appointed assistant conductor and choirmaster of the Colonne Orchestra in 1894, the year in which he joined the Geloso Quartet, with whom he played a string quartet by Brahms with the composer present. He was awarded first prize at the Conservatoire for his violin-playing, together with Jacques Thibaud, in 1896; and as an orchestral player Monteux was a participant in the golden age of Massenet and Debussy, for instance playing in the first performances of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

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