•                      Composer of the Week: Georges Bizet

    Bizet Georges Bizet was a French composer who lived during the Romantic Period.  He was born in Paris, France in 1838.   His mother likely was his first piano instructor, teaching him from a young age.  His dad was a hairdresser and wig-maker, but eventually started teaching voice despite not having any formal training.   When Georges was just 10, he was accepted to the music conservatory (like a college of music).  There, he met other composers, played piano, and started his music-writing career. 


    Bizet is most famous for his Opera, Carmen.  This was his last opera, and is one of the most popular of all-time.  Bizet died only three months after its premier, thinking that it was a failure.  In fact, despite his talent and the fact that he won many awards and honors, Bizet was never very successful as a composer during his lifetime.  He led a life of frustration and even depression at times.  No matter what he did, there always seemed to be an obstacle stopping his compositions from becoming known throughout the world.  Bizet often supported himself by teaching piano and accompanying choirs, but never attained great financial success. 


    Bizet also wrote symphonies, overtures and piano pieces, some of which he combined with other pieces.  Many of his original pieces were lost.  The opera Carmen, became wildly successful in the Modern period.  The story is about a man falling in love with a beautiful gypsy woman who ends up betraying him, causing the man to seek revenge.  The opera was considered shocking at the time, but audiences didn’t really like or dislike it when it premiered.   Bizet died in 1875 (age 36) before he saw it become a major success.  We don’t know how Bizet died exactly, but it was likely related to overworking himself, and heavy smoking.  Bizet’s life was a struggle at many times, but he has become one of the most famous opera composers of the Romantic period. 

    Map of Paris, France


    The Music of Georges Bizet