Georges Bizet: 25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875

By | July 29, 2020


Black and white portrait of Georges Bizet in his mid thirties

Georges Bizet was a French Romantic composer who was born in Paris. His father, Adolphe was a singing teacher and his mother was a pianist and was Georges first music teacher. Georges was an only child.

Education and Life

He was offered a place at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of nine (due to his talent the minimum age of ten was waivered). He won many awards for the piano there.  Bizet also won joint first prize in an opera competition organised by Jacques Offenbach. He then regularly got invited to Offenbach’s parties and met Rossini there who’s music he admired.

He was influenced by the composer Gounod and Bizet’s first symphony at the age of seventeen very much resembled Gounod’s work. He became friends with Camille Saint Saëns who was another Gounad’s students.

After winning the Prix de Rome in 1857 Bizet was awarded a financial grant for five years spending time in Rome, Germany and Paris.

In 1869 Bizet married Geniève Halévy and they had one son Jacques.

Bizet’s final opera, Carmen was his most famous piece of work after his death most of his works were abandoned.

Bizet was a heavy smoker and died of a heart attack at the age of just thirty six.

Unusual Facts

  • Before becoming a singing teacher to which he had no formal qualification Bizet’s father was a hairdresser and wig maker
  • He sight read one of Liszt’s most difficult piano pieces at a dinner party. Liszt said ‘I thought there were only two men able to surmount the difficulties…. there are three, and .. the youngest is perhaps the boldest and most brilliant.’
  • Bizet served in the National Guard during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
  • Gounad accused Bizet of plagiarism for his production of the opera Carmen.

Further Reading & Downloads

On we have over thirty five downloads for you of Georges Bizet’s compositions.  For further information take a look at Wikipedia or Britannica.

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