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Busser, (Paul-) Henri

paris conductor gounod received

Busser, (Paul-) Henri, esteemed French conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Toulouse, Jan. 16, 1872; d. Paris, Dec. 30, 1973. He received initial music instruction as a choirboy at the Toulouse Cathedral under Aloys Kunc; at age 13, he was taken to Paris, where he studied with A. Georges at the School of Religious Music; he then pursued training at the Cons. (1889–92) as a pupil of Franck and Widor (organ) and Guiraud (composition); he also received advice from Gounod. In 1892 he became organist at St. Cloud, near Paris. In 1893 he won the Prix de Rome with his cantata Antigone . Returning to Paris, he became conductor at the Théâtre du Chateau d’Eau in 1900, and at the Opéra-Comique in 1902; he was conductor at the Opéra (1905-39; 1946-51). In 1904 he became head of the vocal ensemble class at the Cons., and subsequently was prof. of composition there from 1931 to 1948. In 1938 he was elected to membership in the Académie. He married Yvonne Gall in 1958. Büsser was an accomplished composer for the theater. He also orchestrated Debussy’s Petite Suite (1907), Printemps (1912), La cathédrale engloutie (1917), and other pieces. His writings comprise Traité d’instrumentation (with Guiraud; Paris, 1933), De “Pelléas” aux “Indes galantes” (Paris, 1955), and Gounod (Lyons, 1961).

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