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(1908-1992) French composer, organist, and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century.
Year of Birth: 1908
Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. Born on December 10, 1908, in Avignon, France, Messiaen showed an early talent for music and began studying the piano at the age of seven. He went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire, where he excelled in composition and won several prizes.
During his studies, Messiaen became deeply interested in birdsong, which would become a major influence on his music. He traveled extensively to record and study birds, often incorporating their songs and rhythms into his compositions. His innovative use of rhythm and harmony, as well as his incorporation of religious themes, earned him a reputation as one of the most original composers of the 20th century.
Throughout his career, Messiaen held several prestigious positions, including organist at the Trinity Church in Paris and professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire. He also composed numerous works for various instruments and ensembles, including orchestras, choirs, and chamber groups. His most famous compositions include "Quartet for the End of Time" and "Turangalîla-Symphonie".
Messiaen's music was characterized by its complex rhythms, intricate harmonies, and use of unconventional scales and modes. He often drew inspiration from religious texts and symbols, and his music reflected his deep Catholic faith. His unique style, influenced by birdsong and his own synesthetic experiences, set him apart from his contemporaries.
In addition to his musical accomplishments, Messiaen was also a devoted teacher who influenced a generation of composers. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire for over 30 years and his students included notable composers such as Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis.
Messiaen continued to compose and perform despite struggling with health issues later in life. He passed away on April 27, 1992, in Clichy, France, leaving behind a vast and influential body of work that still resonates with audiences today.
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