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Georges Bizet:
Firsts for the New Year

A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.

Other shows about Georges Bizet:
About Georges Bizet
Jewish Composers (for Chanukah)
Christmas Carols in Classical Music
Harmonic Texture in the Farandole

Download this month's activity sheet

About Georges Bizet
10/25/1838 - 6/3/1875
Born in France

Georges Bizet was born in Paris, France. Both his parents were musicians, and they actually wanted their son to become a composer when he grew up! Bizet loved music, but he also loved to read books. His parents wound up hiding his books so that he would spend more time on his music.

When Georges was 10 years old, his father enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory. While he was there, he wrote his only symphony, but it wasn't performed until many years after he died. Bizet graduated from the Conservatory with awards in both composition and piano.

Bizet also composed operas. His most famous opera is Carmen. When Carmen first opened in Paris, the reviews were terrible. Many critics said there were no good tunes in it, so audiences stayed away.

In the middle of the night during the first round of Carmen performances, Bizet died. He was only 36. Four months later, Carmen opened in Vienna, Austria, and was a smash hit. It is now one of the most popular operas ever written. Bizet never knew that audiences would come to consider it his masterpiece.

Bizet was also very good at writing dramatic music. The music he wrote for the play L'Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles) is still enjoyed today.

See other composers born in France


This Week's Quiz:

1. Who is known as the father of the symphony?

Johann Sebastian Bach

Franz Joseph Haydn

Felix Mendelssohn

Antonio Vivaldi

2.Which was the first symphony to use singers?

Mozart's Symphony #41

Beethoven's Symphony #9

Brahms' Symphony #4

3. What did Jean Baptiste Lully use to conduct?

a thin, wandlike stick

his hands

a long pole

a flag


Georges Bizet
L'Arlésienne Suite

Composed in 1872
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Anthony Bramall, conductor

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