Francois Andre Philidor

Francois Andre Philidor

French composer
Date of Birth: 07.09.1726
Country: France

Biography of François-André Philidor

François-André Philidor was a French composer and world-renowned chess player. He was born on September 7, 1726, in the small town of Dreux, in the central part of France. Philidor received his musical education at the Versailles Imperial School, studying under the guidance of Campra.

After completing his education, Philidor failed to establish himself as a recognized artist and musician. However, it was during this time that his undeniable talent in another field, chess, came to the forefront. Starting in 1745, he traveled extensively throughout Germany, the Netherlands, and England, and was universally recognized as the first chess player and world champion for over 50 years. He became a professional chess player and in 1749, his book "Chess Analysis" was published in London. This remarkable study remains relevant to this day.

While Philidor was known primarily as a chess player, he also had a successful career in music. In 1754, he announced his return to music with the motet "Lauda Jerusalem," written for the Versailles Chapel. Before his chess fame, Philidor had already ventured into composing music for the theater, collaborating with Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the heroic ballet "Le Muses galantes" in 1744. He later became the creator of the French musical-theatrical genre - opera comique.

His first successful work in this genre was the opera "Blaise the Cobbler," which premiered in Paris in 1759. Most of his subsequent stage works were also performed in Paris. Philidor's music was highly theatrical, adeptly capturing the nuances of dramatic action and portraying both comedic and lyrical situations.

Philidor's works enjoyed immense success. In Paris, his opera "The Sorcerer" was met with thunderous applause, a rare occurrence at the time that led to the composer being called onto the stage. From 1764 onwards, his operas were also popular in Russia, with numerous performances in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Philidor's compositions combined the technical solidity of German composers with the melodic qualities of Italians while retaining their own national spirit, leaving a profound impression on audiences.

The outbreak of the French Revolution forced Philidor to leave his homeland and seek refuge in England. It was there that the creator of French comic opera spent his final, somber days. He passed away in London in 1795.