Jean Philippe Rameau

1683 - 1764



French composer Jean Philippe Rameau was born on September 25th 1683. There is very little information on his early life. The first information about Rameau comes from after he gained eminence as a theorist of music with his Treatise on Harmony in 1722, which were followed by a series of works for harpsichord that saw significant critical acclaim. Although Rameau penned a number of particularly well-respected works for harpsichord, it is his operas for which he is most famous today. His first opera, Hippolyte et Aricie, was premiered in 1733 and caused much controversy as its use of harmony was reasonably revolutionary and saw an aggressive response from Lully’s supporters. Nonetheless, it was only so much before Rameau’s reputation as an operatic composer was established. His music fell out of favour by the end of the 1700s and did not see any genuine attempts at revival until the 1900s. Today, Rameau’s works see an interested following with regular performances and recordings of his works. His works eventually replaced those of Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant force within French opera and he was considered one of the leading French composers for the harpsichord at the time, on a par with François Couperin.