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Jean Philippe Rameau

Jean Philippe Rameau (Composer)

Born: 25th September 1683, Dijon

Died: 12th September 1764, Paris

Nationality: French

Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the 18th century. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer of his time for the harpsichord, alongside François Couperin.

Little is known about Rameau's early years. It was not until the 1720s that he won fame as a major theorist of music with his Treatise on Harmony (1722) and also in the following years as a composer of masterpieces for the harpsichord, which circulated throughout Europe. He was almost 50 before he embarked on the operatic career on which his reputation chiefly rests today. His debut, Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), caused a great stir and was fiercely attacked by the supporters of Lully's style of music for its revolutionary use of harmony.

Further Reading: Rameau

 Recording of the Week, Víkingur Ólafsson performs piano music by Debussy and Rameau

The Icelandic pianist releases his third album on Deutsche Grammophon: an exquisitely-performed programme of music by Debussy and Rameau.

 Interview, Víkingur Ólafsson on Debussy and Rameau

James talks to Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson about his latest album on Deutsche Grammophon: a fascinating pairing of music by Debussy and Jean Philippe Rameau.

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