Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a French Romantic composer, pianist, organist, and teacher.
Born in Paris on 9th October 1835, Saint-Saëns was a child prodigy. He had lessons with Camille-Marie Stamaty and Alexandre Pierre François Boëly, going on to the Paris Conservatoire in 1848, where he was taught by Fromental Halévy .
He soon came to the notice - and earned the admiration of - such eminent composers as Charles Gounod, Gioacchino Rossini, Hector Berlioz, and Franz Liszt. He was appointed organist at the Madeleine (1857-1875), and taught at the École Niedermeyer from 1861 to 1865, Gabriel Fauré being one of his pupils.
Aside from these paid positions, Saint-Saëns was heavily involved in the musical world; he organised concerts of Liszt's symphonic poems, he worked to revive popular interest in earlier, especially Baroque, composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Jean-Philippe Rameau, but he also, on behalf of new French music, co-founded the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871. He also wrote on music, science, and history, and often travelled around Europe, North Africa, and South America.
Saint-Saëns was a virtuoso pianist and a prolific composer. His best-known work among general audience is Le carnaval des animaux (1886), though he forbade performances of it in his lifetime, apart from "Le cygne".
He died in Algiers on 16th December 1921. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.