Félicien-César David


Officer of the Legion of Honour, 1862 (France)[E6F]

Positions Held

Choirmaster of at the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, Aix-en-Provence, 1829[J92]
Assistant conductor at the Aix theatre, 1828[E6F]


An amateur violinist as a boy, he was orphaned at the age of six.[E6F]
Sent as a chorister to the maîtrise of Saint Sauveur in Aix-en-Provence, 1818, and was to learn composition.[E6F]
Admitted to the Paris Conservatoire (interviewed by its director Cherubini), and left in 1831 to join the brotherhood of the Saint-Simonians.[E6F]
Became the brotherhood's main artistic figure, and composed chants for their services.[E6F]
Began a tour to preach the Saint-Simonian gospel, which took him Constantinople, Smyrna, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Egypt, 1833.[E6F]
Remained in Egypt for two years, he left because of the plague, returning to Europe in 1835.[E6F]
His journey to the East was to influence his music, and he introduced Oriental exoticism in French Romantic music.[J92]
His first major success was Le désert, completed in 1844.[E6F]
Toured Germany and Austria, 1845, and became acquainted with Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer.[E6F]
Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, 1869.[E6F]

Place of birth: Cadenet, Vaucluse[E6F]
Place of death: Saint Germain-en-Laye[E6F]



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