12 May 1842 - 13 August 1912
Jules Massenet was born in 1842 and was introduced to music at a young age by his mother, who was a piano teacher and composer. The family moved to Paris in 1847 and Massenet entered the conservatoire at the young age of ten, where he studied with Ambroise Thomas from 1861. During his student years he taught piano and played timpani at the Théâtre Lyrique, before making a breakthrough in 1863 with his cantata David Rizzio, which won the Prix de Rome, France's most coveted composition award.
Throughout his career he was a prolific composer of operas, writing over thirty of them. He received commissions from around the world, and many of his operas were extremely successful during his lifetime. Many of his operas are still performed today, including Manon, Le Cid, Esclarmonde, Werther, Thaïs, Cendrillon, Chérubin and Don Quichotte. His music is known for its lyrical qualities and its attention to detail.