François-Auguste Gevaert (1828 - 1908)
Belgian composer, teacher and musicologist.
His father being a baker, he intended for the same profession when he joined in 1841 the Ghent Conservatory, where he was allowed to study the organ and the piano. Grand Prix of Belgian Rome at 19, he traveled to Italy, Spain, Germany and then settled in Paris where he wrote for the Théâtre-Lyrique.
Deeply attached to his country of origin Belgium, he composed a Flemish cantata for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the reign of Leopold I (1857). Succeeding Ludovic Halévy as music director at the Paris Opera (1867-1870); he was then appointed in 1871 director of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels to replace Fétis and master of the chapel of the King of the Belgians. He received the title of baron in 1907.
An accomplished composer, GEVAERT proved to be a brilliant teacher and lecturer and devoted himself to the study of history and musical theory. The most important part of his work concerns the teaching of music. Among his works are the "New Instrumentation Treaty", an orchestration course, a harmony treaty and a "Vademecum" for organists.
His compositions include, among other works, a dozen comic operas (Quentin Durward, 1858, Le Capitaine Henriot, 1864, libretto by Victorien Sardou), cantatas, harmonizations of Christmas and popular songs.
François-Auguste Gevaert died in Brussels on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1908.
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