Leo Delibes

1836 - 1891

French

Biography

Leo Delibes was born on February 21st 1836 in Saint-Germain-du-Val. His mother was a talented amateur musician and he was the grandson of an opera singer. In 1847, Delibes began studies at the Paris Conservatory, learning composition with Adolphe Adam. In his second year of study, he began having voice lessons, although his organ playing would surpass his skills as a singer. He played for rehearsals and was chorus master at the Paris Opéra from 1864 and was appointed as organist for Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot in 1865. The work that brought him into the public’s attention in earnest was his first ballet, Coppélia, in 1870. His output is known to have had significant influence upon Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Debussy, with Tchaikovsky holding Delibes, and his ballet Sylvia, in particularly high esteem. Delibes died at the age of 54 on January 16th 1891 in Paris.