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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » C » Chaminade, Cecile

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Cecile Chaminade (8/08/1857 - 4/13/1944)

Cecile Chaminade was essentially a composer who had a career as a pianist playing her own works with great public success. By the age of eight she was writing church music and her private teachers were Félix Le Couppey for piano, Martin Marsick for violin, and Benjamin Godard for composition. Chaminade’s family was not musical and she had private teachers because her father did not want her to go to the Paris Conservatoire. She gave her first concert at the age of eighteen and thenceforth had an extremely successful career as a performer of her own works rather in the manner of Gottschalk, a half century before. Her works are of a similar quality, in that they are beautifully crafted, aiming to please and charm their audience. Chaminade was popular in France and England; after her first visit to London she returned nearly every June during the 1890s to give an annual concert, performing her new songs and piano works, engaging friends such as Blanche Marchesi and Pol Plançon to sing them. She made her American debut in 1908 playing her own Concertstück for Piano and Orchestra Op. 40 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to the hundreds of piano pieces she produced, she also wrote many songs, several orchestral suites, two piano trios and a ‘Symphonie lyrique’ for chorus and orchestra entitled Les Amazones. The critics were not as enthusiastic as the audiences, and after 1899 she only visited London occasionally. At one of her last visits in 1922 she filled the large Central Hall in Westminster and played nine piano



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