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Cécile Chaminade

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Cecil Chaminade


Cécile Chaminade (8 August 1857, Paris - 18 April 1944, Monte Carlo, Monaco) was a French composer and pianist.

She was born into a musical family. Her father was an excellent violinist and her mother was known as a remarkable pianist and singer. Chaminade studied piano with her mother, who was her only teacher until she was 15. After hearing some of her compositions, written at the age of eight, Hector Berlioz encouraged her parents to give her a complete music education. At 15 she began studying fugue and counterpoint with Augustin Savard, followed later by piano with Félix Le Couppey and composition with Martin-Pierre-Joseph Marsic and Benjamin Godard. She gave her first public piano recital at 16 and the first recital of her works at age 18.

Chaminade toured as a concert pianist to many cities, including Philadelphia where she played her Concertstuck with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1908. During the tour she appeared on a music symposium with John Philip Sousa regarding the question of popular music.

Chaminade composed over 200 piano pieces (études, sonatas, waltzes and airs de ballet, including Scarf Dance); piano concertos; a dramatic symphony (Les Amazones, for solo voices, chorus and orchestra); an opera (La Sévillane - The Woman of Seville); orchestra works (including Pardon Breton, Noel des Marins, Angelus, and Angelique); two piano trios; and over 60 songs. Her piano works were much more popular than her more extended works.

The following band pieces are also included in her repertoire: L'Anneau d'argent - The Silver Ring, Ballet Airs (including Pas de Amphores, Pas des Cymbales, Pierette, and Serenade), Callirhoe (Ballet Variations and Pas des Echarpes - Scarf Dance, Concertino (flute solo), L'Été - The Summer (cornet solo), La Lisonjera - The Flatterer (Caprice), Marche Américaine, Meditation, and Suite of 5 Pieces.

Chaminade also wrote literary articles, including a chapter in the The international Library of Music on the life of Georges Bizet (a neighbor near Le Lisenet when she was a child).

Works for Winds


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 117.