Charles-François Gounod was born in 1818 in Paris, France and died in Saint Cloud, France in 1893.
Charles Gounod won the prestigious Prix de Rome for composition in 1839, when he was a music student at the Paris Conservatoire. Established in 1663 during the reign of King Louis XIV of France, the Prix de Rome was a state-funded travelling scholarship that supported French artists to study in Italy, Germany and Austria for a period of 3 to 5 years. Over time, other categories were added to the scholarship, including musical composition in 1803. The Prix de Rome was abolished in 1968 by André Mairaux, then Minister of Culture, just over three hundred years since it was established. The list of recipients includes composers Hector Berlioz, George Bizet, and Claude Debussy.
Winning the scholarship was an incredible opportunity for Gounod. He was introduced to works by the Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and attended a performance of the Mozart opera The Magic Flute, in Vienna.
Gounod went on to write twelve operas of his own, including Faust. “Ballet Music from Faust” is an arrangement of music that Gounod wrote at the request of Paris Opéra for inclusion in a new production of Faust in 1869.
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