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Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer, pianist, and conductor. He is often associated with Impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.
Ravel was born in Ciboure, France, to a Swiss father and a Basque mother. He showed an early aptitude for music and began studying the piano at the age of eight. In 1889, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied composition with Gabriel Fauré. He graduated in 1900 with a first prize in composition.
After graduating from the Conservatoire, Ravel began working as a pianist and conductor. He also began to compose, and his early works were influenced by the music of Debussy and other Impressionist composers. In the early 1900s, Ravel began to develop his own unique style, which was characterized by its use of complex harmonies, rhythms, and melodies.
Ravel's most famous works include the piano concertos in G and D, the orchestral pieces Daphnis et Chloé, Boléro, and La Valse, the opera L'Enfant et les sortilèges, and the song cycle Chansons madécasses. His music is known for its beauty, its technical virtuosity, and its sophisticated use of harmony and rhythm.
Ravel was a perfectionist and he often worked for years on a single piece. He was also a very private person and he shunned the limelight. He died in Paris in 1937 at the age of 62.
Ravel's music is still performed and studied today. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century.