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Georges Bizet:
Jewish Composers (for Chanukah)

Georges Bizet was not Jewish, his father-in-law was. Bizet married the daughter of his composition professor, Jacques Halevi. To celebrate Chanukah, we learn about some other Jewish composers of classical music, including Salamone Rossi, Leonard Bernstein, Darius Milhaud, Jacques Offenbach and Aaron Copland.

Music heard in this episode:
Salomone Rossi: Songs of Solomon: Barchu
Milhaud: Suite Provencale
Offenbach: Can Can from Orpheus in the Underworld
Meyerbeer: Le Prophete
Korngold: The Adventures of Robin Hood
Castelnuevo-Tedesco: Concerto for 2 Guitars, Op. 201
Elmer Bernstein: Magnificent Seven
Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Gershwin: American in Paris
Halevy: La Juive

Other shows about Georges Bizet:
About Georges Bizet
Christmas Carols in Classical Music
Harmonic Texture in the Farandole
Firsts for the New Year

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. Which Italian composer wrote religious music that sounds like madrigals?

Antonio Vivaldi

Arcangelo Corelli

Salomone Rossi

Giuseppe Verdi

2.Which composer found work composing film scores in Hollywood?

Erich Korngold

Charles Ives

Scott Joplin

Leonard Bernstein

3. Who wrote the music to The Magnificent Seven?

Leonard Bernstein

Aaron Copland

George Gershwin

Elmer Bernstein


Georges Bizet
L'Arlésienne Suite

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

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