- Steven Huebner
(b Ambert, Puy-de-Dôme, Jan 18, 1841; d Paris, Sept 13, 1894). French composer. Best known today for the orchestral showpiece España, Chabrier principally wrote songs, piano pieces and stage works. Though he composed a relatively small body of work, it was of consistently high quality and very influential on French composers in the first quarter of the 20th century.
He was born into a family of jurists and tradesmen in Ambert, a small village in the Auvergne. Although he attended a lycée in the regional capital Clermont Ferrand and then, in 1856, moved with his family to Paris, Chabrier stayed close to his ancestral origins. He began piano lessons in Ambert at age six and soon started composing short dances for the instrument. At 14 he published a work entitled Aïka, whose generic designation as a polka-mazurka arabe already underlines Chabrier’s wit. In 1857, after the move to Paris, he designated his ...