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Camille Saint-SaŽns

Camille Saint-SaŽns (1835-1921), composer and performer

Camille Saint-SaŽns was born on October 9, 1835 in Paris, France. A child prodigy, three years after his birth he could already read and write and began piano lessons then almost immediately began composing. At ten years of age he gave public recitals of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. At the age of sixteen, he wrote his first symphony.

- Camille Saint-SaŽns -
In 1871 he co-founded the Sociťtť Nationale de Musique. He wrote dramatic works, including four symphonic poems, and 13 operas, of which Samson et Dalila and the symphonic poem Danse Macabre are among his most famous. In all, he composed over three hundred works and was the first major composer to write music specifically for the cinema.

In 1875, Saint-SaŽns married Marie Truffot and fathered two children who died within six weeks of each other in 1881. Saint-SaŽns left his wife the same year. The two never divorced, but lived the rest of their lives apart from one another. It has been suggested that Saint-SaŽns was involved in gay relationships later in life, though evidence of this is largely circumstantial.

Saint-SaŽns wrote on musical, scientific and historical topics, frequently travelling around Europe, North Africa, and South America before spending his last years in Algiers, Algeria. In recognition of his accomplishments, the government of France awarded him the Legion of Honor.

Camille Saint-SaŽns died on December 16, 1921, in Algiers. His body was brought back to Paris for a state funeral and was buried in the Cimetiere de Montparnasse, in Paris.

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