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Musicians & composers

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Normandy's tradition is based on ancient culture.
The 17th Century was undoubtedly its most prosperous period, from an intellectual, literary and artistic point of view. Throughout the centuries, the region has given birth to some of the world's most illustrious classical and modern composers.


Born in Normandy:

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871), born in Caen (Calvados), composer. He remains a man of French music, direct, simple and discrete. A source of inspiration for Richard Wagner, by whom he was honoured through his emulative composition of « Rienzi ». Throughout his life, he composed 37 comic operas and 10 operas forming a total of 132 acts, including fifteen ballets, divertimenti and dance steps. In 1821, he met with great success, both in Paris and the provinces, with the comic opera « Emma ». His greatest triumph was the comic opera in three acts, « Le Maçon », one round of which is particularly famed.
His first noteworthy success dates from the 29th of February 1828, with the opera in 5 acts entitled « La Muette de Portici ».
In 1829, Auber became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts during the reign of Charles X, to become director of court concerts during the reign of Louis-Philippe ten years later, director of the Imperial Chapel in 1852 and Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (grand officer of the French Legion of Honour) in 1861.
Erik SATIE (1866-1925), born in Honfleur (Calvados), composer and pianist. His work was synonymous to his personality, whimsical and unconventional, seeking to refine a musical tonality which was ahead of its time, and in particular, to distinguish it from the period's musical trends. He composed many scores without bar lines and had his own style of annotation for the interpretation of his work. Among others, he inspired John Gage, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel, Jean Cocteau or even the "Groupe des Six", and provided piano accompaniment for the cabaret singer Vincent Hyspa at the Chat Noir cabaret.
Guy de LIONCOURT (1885-1961), born in Caen (Calvados), composer. Studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. His work is almost entirely of religious inspiration; however, he also composed many beautiful symphonies and chamber music. In 1918, he won the Grand Prix Lasserre with his fairytale opera « la Belle au bois dormant » (sleeping beauty). Together with Louis Serres, he founded the Ecole César Franck in 1935, to become the school's director in 1942.
Marcel MULE (1901-2001), born in Aube (Orne), saxophonist. At the age of only 8, he learned to play, not only the saxophone, but also the violin and the piano. A member of the « Quatuor de la Garde républicaine » from 1928 to 1936, which he left to found the Quatuor de Saxophones de Paris, more widely known as the « Quatuor Marcel Mule ».
Michel MAGNE (1930-1984), born in Lisieux (Calvados), composer and musician. Composer of soundtracks for major French film successes in the 60s and 70s, including the « Angélique » series, « Les Tontons flingeurs », « Les Barbouzes », « Fantomas »...together with music for Jean Yanne's first productions.
Jean-Luc PONTY (1942- ), born in Avranches, violinist and jazz composer. First violin (classical) at the National Superior Conservatory of Music in Paris, his enthusiasm for jazz was inspired by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He is one of France's rare musicians to have met with genuine international success, initially spurred by his association with Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin. Over and above his extraordinary virtuosity, complemented by a genuine talent for composition and melody, he was also an ambitious experimenter.
Gérard LENORMAN (1945 - ), born in Bénouville (Calvados), writer, composer, singer. His career began in the late 60s.
Daniel BALAVOINE (1952-1986), born in Alençon, writer, composer, singer. Started his career in the 1970s as a member of the chorus in the musical "La Révolution Française" (the French Revolution). Spotted by Michel Berger, he obtained a role in the rock opera « Starmania » in 1978 to become, in the early 80s, the reference in Electropop and Synthpop music in France.

  • Instrument musique