Georges Auric, classical music composer
(15 February 1899 – 23 July 1983) was a French composer, born in Lodève, Hérault. He was a child prodigy and at age 15 he had his first compositions published. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Georges Caussade, and under the composer Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum. Before he turned 20 he had orchestrated and written incidental music for several ballets and stage productions.
As a young student of at the Paris Conservatory in 1920, and, considered avant-garde, Auric became part of Satie and Cocteau's famous group, Les six, and was friends with the artist Jean Hugo. His participation led to writing settings of poetry and other texts as songs and musicals. In 1921, Cocteau asked him to write the music for his ballet, Les mariés de la tour Eiffel. He found himself short of time, so he asked his fellow composers of Les six to contribute some music. All except Louis Durey agreed. During this time, he wrote his one act opera Sous le masque (1927). (An earlier opera, La reine de coeur (1919), is lost.) It was also in 1927 that he contributed the Rondeau for the children's ballet L'éventail de Jeanne, a collaboration between ten French composers. In 1952 he participated in yet another collaboration, the set of orchestral variations La guirlande de Campra.
When Jean Cocteau started making motion pictures, at the beginning of the 1930s Auric began writing film scores. He wrote soundtracks for a number of French and British films, and his success led to writing the music for Hollywood movies, too. Several times, Auric's work made it onto the hit parade, notably The Song from Moulin Rouge.
Grave of Georges Auric
Especially notable among his film music is the lavishly impressionistic score that he wrote for Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946); other films include Passport to Pimlico (1948), Silent Dust (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), Roman Holiday (1953), The Wages of Fear (1953), The Divided Heart (1954), Lola Montes (1955), Rififi (1956), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), Bonjour Tristesse (1958), The Night Heaven Fell (1958), Goodbye Again (1961), and Therese and Isabelle (1968).
In 1960 he was a member of the jury at the 10th Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1962 he gave up writing for motion pictures when he became director of the Opéra National de Paris and then chairman of SACEM, the French Performing Rights Society. Auric continued to write classical chamber music, especially for winds, right up to his death.
Auric died in Paris and was interred at Montparnasse Cemetery.
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