Gounod, Charles François

BORN 17 Jun 1818, Paris - DIED 17 Oct 1893, Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Auteuil Cimetière, Rue Claude Lorrain, Auteuil (division 01)

Son of a painter and a pianist. His mother taught him music. He studied philosophy and then music with Anton Reicha. After Reicha died in 1836 he went to the Conservatory in Paris where Fromental Halévy and Pierre Zimmermann were his teachers.

In 1839 he won the Prix the Rome with his cantata "Fernand". In Italy he studied the composer Giovanni da Palestrina. In Vienna some of his works were performed. On his way back to France he met Mendelssohn in Leipzig. Fanny Mendelssohn introduced him to the keyboard music of Bach and in 1859, after her death, he combined a melody inspired by this music with the words of "Ave Maria".

In several preceeding years he had mostly composed religious works. He composed his first opera "Sapho" in 1851, supported by his friend Pauline Viardot. He married Zimmerman's daughter Anna Marie (1929-1907) in 1852. In 1859 his opera "Faust" was first performed. Initially it was little successful, but Berlioz and the Empress Eugénie liked it and soon France followed.

After a long breakdown he produced his masterpiece, the opera "Roméo et Juliette" (1867). In 1870 went to London because of the war. In 1874 he returned to France. In his later years he returned to religious music. He became a Grand Officer of the Légion d'honneur in 1888.

Related persons
• influenced Bizet, Georges
• was sculpted by Dubois, Paul
• corresponded with Lefuel, Hector
• knew Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Fanny
• knew Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
• was pupil to Reicha, Anton
• was a friend of Viardot-Garcia, Pauline

19/3/1859Premiere of Gounod's opera "Faust" in Paris. At the Théâtre Lyrique. The libretto was written by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré and it was based on Goethe's "Faust". It was conducted by Adolphe Deloffre. Marie Caroline Miolan-Carvalho was Marguerite, Joseph-Théodore-Désiré Barbot was Faust and Émile Balanqué was Méphistophélès. [Carvalho-Miolan, Caroline]


The grave of Charles Gounod at the Auteuil Cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (04 Nov 2016)


The grave of Charles Gounod at the Auteuil Cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (04 Nov 2016)


Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004
Encyclopedie van de Muziek, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1959
Charles Gounod - Wikipedia

Gozlan, Léon

Published: 25 Nov 2016
Last update: 22 Dec 2019