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Neal Zaslaw

(b Paris, bap. Feb 6, 1695; d Paris, bur. Oct 7, 1766). French organist, harpsichordist, conductor and composer. Born into a family of musicians and instrument makers, he studied from 1702 under Nicolas Bernier as a choirboy at the Ste Chapelle, where in 1713 he assumed the duties of auxiliary organist. Around 1729 he was in the entourage of the wealthy patron of the arts, Bonnier de la Mosson, to whom his opp.1 and 2 were dedicated. Serving in the same Parisian household was Jean-Marie Leclair l’aîné who, although only two years Chéron’s junior and already internationally known, studied harmony and counterpoint with him. A decade later Leclair, with his op.7 violin concertos, acknowledged his debt in a warm letter of dedication to Chéron in which he stated that, ‘all the world knows that I am your pupil … If some beauties are found here, I owe them to the learned lessons that I received from you’....

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(b Narbonne, bap. Dec 25, 1711; d Belleville, Oct 8, 1772). French composer, violinist and conductor. With Jean-Philippe Rameau, he was one of the outstanding figures of French music in the 18th century. He probably received his musical education from his father, who was organist of Narbonne Cathedral. In 1731 he settled in Paris and made his début as a violinist at the Concert Spirituel on Palm Sunday 1734, on which occasion the Mercure de France praised him for his virtuosity. At about this time he also published his first collections of instrumental music, a set of violin sonatas op.1 (1733) and the Sonates en trio op.2 (1734). He was first violin in the Concert de Lille when, in 1738, he published Les sons harmoniques op.4, a set of violin sonatas with an introduction setting out, for the first time, the technique of playing harmonics on the violin by lightly touching an open string. On ...