Find his works performed during the concert & opera season
You can search a work on the entire concert & opera season or on a specific month by previously selecting the month using the adequate tab and then press select.
Côte-Saint-André (France), December 11, 1803 - Paris (France) March 8, 1869
His father was a wealthy doctor and his mother was fervent catholic believer. In his childhood Hector Berlioz took classes of guitar, flute, and flageolet and started to compose very young.
Berlioz was sent to Paris by his parents to study medicine. Despite his parents' disapproval, he preferred to attend the Paris Conservatoire and that's why they fell out. In 1822, Leseur and Reicha taught him music lessons.
In 1824, he composed the very famous Messe solenelle which production impoverished him. He tried to win the Prix de Rome, but he failed in extremis, each time.
During a Shakespeare's play, Hamlet in 1827, he felt desperately in love with the main actress Harriet Smithson. To seduce her, he composed in 1829 the Symphony fantastique, a romantic piece of art inspired by his own life.
This major work provoked polemical reactions both scandal and fascination among the public (from this moment on, Liszt became one of his enthusiastic supporter)
In 1830 he finally won the Prix de Rome and went to Rome. His journey especially inspired him Harold en Italie (1834) or Le carnaval romain. When he went back to Paris, he finally met Harriet Smithson and despite the opinion of his family, he married her in 1833.
After their wedding, their relationship was not so good and their marriage ended in separation in 1844, after they had a child called, Louis. Berlioz still supported Harriet until her death in 1854.
In order to earn his living, in 1831 he started to write music critics until 1864. He especially supported Liszt, Chopin and Beethoven.
In 1837, despite the attempts of the musical circles of Paris to stop him from presenting his famous Requiem to the public, his work has been very successful.
But his opera Benvenutto Cellini (1838) is unfortunately a failure. On the other hand, the dramatic symphony, Romeo and Juliet (1839) was a real success and seduced the public and he became more famous abroad. During the 1840's, on tour in Europe, he was acclaimed as a composer and a conductor.
In 1843, he published his Grand traité d'instrumentalisation et d'orchestration, which is still considered as reference.
Berlioz had a keen affection for literature since his childhood, he also used Gautier's poems as texts for his song cycle Les nuits d'été.
The opera La damnation de Faust (1846) was a failure, but he went on and composed during the 1850's his master-work, the epic poem Les Troyens, based on the Aeneid of Virgil. Once more, he had no success with this work.
After the death of his second wife, Marie Recio and his son in the Havana, Berlioz lived withdrawn from society until his death. He died at the age of 66 years old.
Berlioz was a great critic, but he also was a writer and wrote his Mémoires, published in 1870. However, he is a major romantic French composer, and according to César Franck "his work is only made of master-works".