Charles Gounod Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Composer

Charles Gounod

Birthday :

June 17, 1818

Died On :

October 18, 1893

Birth Place :

Paris, France

Zodiac Sign :

Gemini


Charles Gounod was born on June 17, 1818, in France. His parents were sorts of artists. His father was Francois Gounod, who did traditional art. His mother was a piano played named Lemonchois Victoire. Sadly, Francois died when Charles was only four years old.

Education

Charles Gounod had some musical training at his parent’s house when he was a child. Since his mother played the piano, she was able to teach her son about it. The training he got from his mother, as well as the performances he gave as a child and young teen, encouraged him to pursue music as a career. 

After he left his home, he began his studies at the Paris Conservatoire in 1836. There, some of his most famous teachers while at the Conservatoire was Fromental Halevy and Pierre Zimmermann. About three years after finishing his studies at the Conservatoire, he moved to Italy to study religious music and the music of famous Italian musicians. While in Italy, he considered taking on a religious profession, but did not. He moved back to France to start his career in the early 1840’s.

Career

After returning from Italy Charles Gounod went on to take on a job as an organist in a religious institution. He both dealt with music and religion for a few years, before devoting himself entirely to music. In 1852, he left his job as an organist and started to work as a teacher/director for choirs and bands around Paris. While working as a teacher, he continued to work on making his own music. During this time, he began to write some operas and songs. One of his first astonishing works of music was the Messe Solennelle. This song established him as a great composer. From then on, he continued to write symphonies, operas, and other songs. Some of his famous operas and songs are listed below.

Funeral March of a Marionette

Ave Maria

Faust

Romeo et Juliette

Vive L'Empereur

Sappho

Near the end of Gounod’s life and career, he moved from France to England. While there, he continued to write secular music, but he also went back to his earlier vein of work, and wrote some religious songs as well. He continued to make both types of music until the days before his death.

Awards And Accomplishments

Charles Gounod won the 1839 Prix de Rome for one of his songs, Fernand.

He was the first conductor of the Royal Choral Society.

Charles Gounod was appointed as the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1856. The next year, he was promoted from the post as onto the next, as a Legion of Honor. These promotions were due to his musical success. Decades later, in 1888, he was promoted again, making him the Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

One of Gounod’s famous religious songs, Marche Pontificale (composed in 1869) was made the nation anthem for the Vatican City in 1949, decades after his death.

Family Life

Charles Gounod married the daughter of one of his mentors, Zimmermann. His wife’s name was Anna. The couple lived on the Zimmermann’s property, building their own house on one of their lots. Soon after, the couple had two children together, Jean and Jeanne.

Death

On October 18, 1893, Charles Gounod suffered a stroke. He died the same day, in Saint Cloud, France. He was 75 years old when he passed away.


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