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Florent Schmitt (28 September 1870 – 17 August 1958) was a French composer. He was part of the group known as Les Apaches. His most famous pieces are La tragédie de Salome and Psaume XLVII (Psalm 47). He has been described as "one of the most fascinating of France's lesser-known classical composers".
Early life and career Born in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Schmitt took music lessons in Nancy with the local composer Gustave Sandré. At the age of 19 he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Gabriel Fauré, Jules Massenet, Théodore Dubois, and Albert Lavignac. In 1900 he won the Prix de Rome. During the 1890s he became friendly with Frederick Delius, who was living in Paris at the time, and Schmitt prepared vocal scores for four of Delius's operas: Irmelin, The Magic Fountain, Koanga and A Village Romeo and Juliet. From 1929 to 1939 Schmitt worked as a music critic for Le Temps, where he proved controversial.
Later career In 1921 Schmitt was appointed director of the Conservatoire de Lyon, a position he held until 1924. In 1937 he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. During World War II Schmitt remained in France and continued to compose. He died in 1958 at the age of 87.
Style Schmitt's music is characterized by its rich harmonies, its rhythmic vitality, and its use of exotic influences. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, including French Impressionism, Russian nationalism, and jazz. His music is often described as "sensuous" and "barbaric".
Legacy Schmitt is considered one of the most important French composers of the 20th century. His music has been performed and recorded extensively, and he has been the subject of numerous books and articles. He is also known for his colorful personality and his outspoken views on music.