Composer Corner: Poulenc

January’s composer of the month is Francois Poulenc.


Born: Jan 7, 1899

Died: Jan 30, 1963


Five facts:

• Poulenc was born into a rich family of pharmaceutical manufacturers.
• At a time when he was relatively unknown as a composer, he was asked to write “Les Biches” by the great Serge Diaghilev.
• Along with Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Germaine Tailleferre, and Darius Milhaud, Poulenc was a member of “Les Six” — a group of six French composers who worked in Paris in the 20th century.
• Poulenc was also an acclaimed pianist, and became an accompanist for Frenchman Pierre Bernac (for whom he also composed a number of songs).
• In 1950, a critic named Claude Rostand referred to Poulenc as “half monk, half thug” — a phrase often used to describe the composer.


Three important works:

• Mouvements perpétuels (1918)
• Les Biches (1924)
• Sextet (1931-32)


Audio Backpack playlist: Francois Poulenc

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