Massenet Sheet Music and Biography
Jules Massenet (born 12 May 1842) is famous as a French operatic composer during the Romantic era.
He is best known for his operas Manon and Werther along with solo violin for the opera Thais. You can find several arrangements of Thais, Act 2 Meditation on our main site. This exquisite piece is featured in our Music for Peaceful Contemplation post.
His father was a metal worker and his mother was a composer and piano teacher. The family moved from Montaud near Saint-Étienne to Paris in 1847. Massenet entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of ten studying with Ambroise Thomas a famous operatic composer.
In 1863 Massenet won the Prix de Rome with the cantata ‘David Rizzio’, thus offering him the opportunity to travel and study in Italy.
Whilst there he was introduced to Franz Liszt who subsequently introduced him to his future wife Mademoiselle Sainte-Marie.
On returning to Paris in 1866 he received his first commission from the Opéra-Comique. After this, he continued to receive further commissions from the world’s leading opera houses, including the Vienna Hofoper and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
In 1877 he achieved his first great operatic success with ‘Le Roi de Lahore’ for the Paris Opéra. The following year his former teacher Thomas invited him to teach at the Paris Conservatoire. Massenet achieved great success as a teacher. His students included Gustave Charpentier and Reynaldo Hahn both of whom won the Prix de Rome and Massenet mentored Hahn and became a lifelong friends.
Massenet was a prolific composer achieving twenty-five published operas. These included Le Cid, ‘Esclarmonde’, ‘Werther’, ‘Thaïs’, ‘Cendrillon’, ‘Chérubin’ and ‘Don Quichotte’; not forgetting his score for the ballet Manon. His talent was extensive, composing songs, music for ballets, orchestral works, chamber music, oratorios as well as works for solo piano.
He wrote an autobiography ‘Mes Souvenirs’ (1912 My Recollections’)
He died in Paris at the age of seventy on 13 August 1912.
Massenet Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading
On music scores, we have ten arrangements of Massenet sheet music music in PDF format for you to download.