A French composer born May 23, 1912 in Le Mans who died September 25, 1997.
Born into a family of musicians, Jean Françaix studied the piano, won a First Prize at the Paris Conservatory (1930) and studied composition with Nadia Boulanger.
His music exemplifies all genres. He composed Beach and Scuola di ballo for the Ballets Russes and 14 ballets for Serge Lifar, Roland Petit and Georges Balanchine. He also wrote five operas (including La main de gloire, 1945; La princesse de Clèves, 1964), some 40 concertos (Concerto for piano and orchestra, 1932; L’horloge de Flore for oboe and orchestra, 1959; Concerto for clarinet and orchestra, 1967), as well as more than 50 pieces of chamber music that reveal a particular interest in wind instruments (Le gay Paris, 1974). His masterpiece, the oratorio L’Apocalypse selon Saint Jean, was first conducted by Charles Munch in 1942. In France his fame grew with his film music (including Si Versailles m’était conté, 1953).
Free of dogma, his music is embedded in the tradition of French composers such as Chabrier, Debussy and Ravel. In 1992 Jean Françaix received the Prix International de Composition Arthur Honegger for his music as a whole.