Born in Paris, October 25, 1838
Died in Bougival, France, June 3, 1875
Carmen, L’ArlĆ©sienne Suite, No. 1; L’Minuetto
Georges Bizet is considered to be a great French opera composer. Both of his parents were professional musicians. Georges’ mother was a pianist. Georges’ father was a composer and a singing teacher and gave Georges his first music lessons at the age of 4.
Georges’ talent for music was displayed early in his childhood. When Georges was 9, he entered the Paris Conservatory of Music. He studied harmony and composition and took lessons on the piano and the organ. He was considered a master of the piano at age 14, won a First Prize for piano, and was encouraged to write compositions for the piano. He wrote “Jeux d’enfants,” a suite for piano featuring four hands (two people playing the same piano), as well as 150 other compositions for the piano. He won several awards while at the conservatory: the Offenbach First Prize for comic opera and also the Grand Prix de Rome in 1857.
Georges went on to study in Italy, but returned to Paris to teach music. He composed music for a play by Daudet, called L’Arlesienne. This music is still popular today as a suite for orchestra. In 1875, he wrote Carmen, a four-act opera. The opera was based on a story by Merimee. Georges incorporated Spanish rhythms in his music specifically to set the stage for the story. Georges also composed a symphony, orchestral suites, other operas, and songs. His masterpiece, Carmen, is performed all over the world.