Lecocq, (Alexandre) Charles
- Andrew Lamb
(b Paris, June 3, 1832; d Paris, Oct 24, 1918). French composer. One of five children of a poor family, he was born infirm and from the age of five or six was forced to use crutches. He soon concentrated on music, playing first a flageolet and later the piano. By the age of 16 he was sufficiently accomplished a pianist to give lessons. After a period of instruction in harmony by Crèvecoeur, he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1849, where he studied harmony with Bazin and composition with Halévy, and made friends with his fellow students Bizet and Saint-Saëns. At the end of his second year he gained second prix in counterpoint and was primus accessit in Benoist’s organ class. But the weakness of his legs made organ playing tiring and difficult. He was forced to leave the Conservatoire prematurely, in 1854, to help support his parents by giving piano lessons and by playing at dances and for lessons of the dancing-master Cellarius. He first attracted attention as a composer in ...