Darius Milhaud

1892 - 1974

Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) was a French composer and teacher, regarded as one of the most versatile and prolific composers of the 20th century. Born in Marseille into a Jewish family, he was deeply influenced by the music of his Provençal homeland as well as Jewish liturgical music.

Milhaud was a member of "Les Six," a group of French composers that also included Poulenc and Honegger. This group aimed to promote a simpler and clearer form of composition, in reaction to the romantic and impressionistic tendencies of the time.

One of his most famous works is "Le Boeuf sur le Toit," a composition that blends Brazilian influences and jazz elements. Milhaud was known for his eclectic style, incorporating a variety of influences, including jazz, Brazilian music, and modern dissonance.

Another significant work by Milhaud is "La Création du Monde," a suite that also incorporates jazz influences and is considered one of the first serious classical music compositions to employ these elements.

Milhaud was also a dedicated teacher, spending much of his life in the USA, where he taught at Mills College in California and at the Aspen Music Festival and School. His students included many later prominent composers. His extensive oeuvre includes operas, ballets, chamber music, orchestral works, and songs, reflecting his wide-ranging musical interests and ability to integrate various musical styles.